Th. Rothstein 1919

A Cunning Device

Source: The Call, 4 September 1919, p. 5 (Originally written under his pseudonym A. A. W.)
Transcribed: Ted Crawford
HTML Markup: Brian Reid
Public Domain: Marxists Internet Archive (2007). You may freely copy, distribute, display and perform this work; as well as make derivative and commercial works. Please credit “Marxists Internet Archive” as your source.

At the quarterly delegate meeting of the London Society of Compositors, held recently, statements were made that in some printing firms a pension scheme was being introduced, that men over 46 years of age were being dismissed, and young men introduced into their places, many of the latter coming from the provinces. The Secretary, Mr. Naylor, replying for the Executive Committee, took a serious view of the matter and promised immediate inquiry.

This is just another instance of the smartness of the employing class to defeat the workers in their efforts at better conditions. Pensions are powerful weapons when workers are threatening to strike, many men looking twice before taking action which will forfeit what they have become by years of service qualified to receive when too old to work. A pension will not only induce men to remain in and blackleg their fellow workers; it will so modify their action as to impel them to vote against a strike at all. It is a cunningly-devised weapon to blunt the workers’ strike-weapon. There is no doubt it played a great part in the latest police strike, inducing many of the men to remain in.

We shall be interested to learn the result of the L.S.C. Committee’s inquiries.

It may be asked: Are we, then, against pensions? Certainly not; we are in favour of pensions—pensions for all! But pensions not payable by the employers, however good the pensions may be. They should be regarded as the right of every citizen, to be applicable when the worker is unable to any longer maintain himself or herself, and to commence at whatever age the disability may occur. We have, of course, old age pensions. They are too old and too little! We have said so from the first, and say so still, and what is to the point, the working class generally are of our opinion. They welcomed the 5s. at 70 years of age; they know better now.

Our demand is pensions for all, at whatever age the disability occurs, and to be of a sufficient amount to maintain the recipient in comfort.

A. A. W.