Among the most important subjects for discussion at the 68th Trade Union Congress at Plymouth is, as frequently happens, one that does not appear on the agenda—the question of Labour policy in the Spanish civil war., This will take place to-day, at a meeting preliminary to the actual Congress. At this meeting representatives of the Parliamentary Labour Party, the General Council of the T.U.C. and the National Executive of the Labour Panty will be present.
The Congress proper opens on Monday and will continue for the rest of the week.
The official statement issued by the deputation which interviewed Mr. Anthony Eden and Lord Halifax at the Foreign Office last week will form the basis of the discussion, which will undoubtedly be a heated one and it is expected that the Executive will corecin for a deal of criticism. The statement was as follows: " The conference expresses regret that it should have been thought expedient, on the ground of,the daneers of war inherent in this situation, to conclude agreements among the European powers laying an em bargo upon the supply of arms and mun itions or war to Spain by which the rebel forces and the Government of Spain are placed an the same footing. While such agreements may lessen international tension provided that they are applied im mediately, are loyally observed by all parties, and their execution is effectively co-ordinated, the utmost vigilance will be needed to prevent these agreements being utilised to injure the Spanish Government." Sixty resolutions are to be introduced at the Congress during its ten sessions. Of particular importance are those with reference to conditions of labour, unemployment, connections with the Russian trade union movement and conscription.
Conditions of Labour
Several resolutions are to be introduced with regard to the forty-hour week, con demning the Government's attitude in blocking the proposals, and instructing and encouraging the General Council to continue pressing for its institution, and for a compulsory minimum fortnight's holiday with pay for all workers. The cinema industry, through the Electrical Trades Union, asked for the reduction of working hours to 48, but changed their demand to a request to be " brought into line with the present policy of the Trade Union Movement of a forty-hour week without prejudice to wages and conditions."
Unemployment There are several proposals concerning unemployment legislation, which clamour against the Government's inactivity with regard to the Special Areas, and demand that systematic and vigorous planning of public utility services be carried out. Protests are also to he made against the six waiting dos in the unemployment .insurance regulations, ,and against the Governs ment's action in reducing the weekly contributions of insured workers by one penny per week as a means of using the £6,500,000 per annum Unemployment Fund Surplus.
Safety and Compensation
Urgent pleas are to be made for the General Council to press for an increase in factory inspectors, for medical referees to deal] with questions arising from disputes over the Workmen's Compensation Act, and the institution of compulsory insur ance by employers against compensation risks.
International As regards international affairs the general tone of the resolutions which will be proposed are declarations of adhesion to the system or collective security, a peace policy, and emphatic resistance io' sully attempts towards conscription.
A ell for unity is to be made, and the setting up qf a united front of all workers. Affiliation of all working class organisations is advocated.
Proposals will be made to take the necessary steps to open up and pursue negotiations between the Russian, American and the British Trade Unions with a view to the establishment of an arrangement by which unity of action can be secured " in the interests of world peace and democracy."
Several suggestions will be made to arrange a delegation to the U.S.S.R. of the British Trade Unions.