From Our Own Correspondent
An industrial city of a quarter of a million inhabitants which has just emerged from the threat of an
unotncial strike which would have affected 50,000 workers, is a good target for Catholic social doctrine.
St. Osburg's Hall, in Coventry, was packed on Wednesday last when Fr. Agnellus Andrew gave a masterly description of the origins and growth of the Trade Union movement and pointed out the likely lines of future development. He had Mgr. Laurence Emery, V.G., as his chairman, Fr. Agnellus Andrew made the craft guilds live again for his audience, giving as his opinion that the unions of to-day cannot claim the guilds as ancestors, because the origins of Trade Unionism in these islands lie in Nonconformity and in humanitarianism, and these two influences have coloured the movement.
MODERN TENDENCIES Modern tendencies are that the average Catholic is more to the Left than he was a generation ago. that there has come into existence the new type of union entirely subordinated to the State, and that within the unions in England the shop steward movement
bids nsfair to rival the power of the unions.
In any organisation there is inevitable conflict between the higher levels of administration and the man with an immediate problem to handle. It is the duty of all trades unionists to thInk out the implicaeons of the present situation and not to indulge in recriminations if they want to preserve the trade union movement.
The shop stewards, said Fr. Agnellu,s are the men who are willing to do the donkey work, to take up real grievances, which the average working man is too apathetic to do anything about himself. Catholics ought to get into their unions and work in and for them, for their general interests, not merely to propagate Catholic doctrine Whether nationalisation of a particular industry is good or bad, it cannot help but constitute a grave threat to the power of the union concerned. The other modern trend, the using of union groupings as political power pressure forces, was referred to.