Conditions of Railway Labor in Italy
Tipologia : Paragrafi/Articoli
Data pubblicazione : 01/11/1900

Conditions of Railway Labor in Italy

«Bulletin of the Department of Labor», November 1900, pp. 1211-1261

 

 

 

The present article treats of the condition of railway labor in Italy. The reader will notice quite a difference between this article and the one relating to the condition of railway labor in other countries of Europe (Bulletin No. 20). The most important reason for this difference must be found in the railway legislation enacted in Italy in the year 1884. The railway in Italy were originally in the hands of private companies. The Government gradually acquired them all, some on one ground, some on another, and administered them directly. The system of governmental administration of the railway, however, does not appear to have been satisfactory, and for this reason the so-called «conventions» or contracts were made in 1884. By the terms of these contracts the railway remained the property of the State, and were divided into three great system: The Mediterranean system, which includes the railway running toward the Tyrrhenian Sea and the Mediterranean Sea or the western part of the peninsula; the Adriatic system, which includes the railway running toward the Adriatic Sea or the eastern part of the peninsula, and the Sicilian system, which comprises all the railways of Sicily.

 

 

These three systems were turned over to the management of three companies, which were called the Mediterranean, Adriatic, and Sicilian companies, respectively. The lease of these governmental railways to the companies was for a term of sixty years, beginning with July 1, 1885. However, at the end of each period of twenty years the State as well as the companies can abrogate the contract, and in that case the railways will revert to the State. The State as proprietor owns the lines, the stations, and the rolling stock, and provides for the extension of the system, the maintenance of that now existing, the purchasing of new rolling stock, etc. The companies must provide for the current expenses of operating the roads. Of the gross income 32,5 per cent goes to the State and 67,5 per cent to the operating companies.

 

 

As can be seen from this short review of the railway contracts now in force in Italy, the existing relations between the State, the companies, and the railway employees are necessarily very complicated.

 

 

1. It will be observed that the principal result of this arrangement is that the State, not operating the railways directly, finds it to its advantage not to renew the rolling stock which it must pay for, and, on the other hand, the companies find it to their interest to reduce the operating expenses as much as possible without regard to the condition of the railways as the expiration of the contract. The companies, therefore, find it to their advantage to reduce the number of employees and to depart from the fixed wage lists which were established before 1885, and which according to the terms of the contract were to remain intact. Great difficulty, therefore, is met with in trying to obtain data relating to wages, and such information as has been obtained is imperfect and incomplete. This difficulty exists notwithstanding the fact that during the year 1899 the commission of inquiry on the relations between the railway employees and the companies presented its report in four large volumes, from which have been taken most of the facts used in the present article. The companies publish only such documents as can not injure them, and those documents throw very little light on the condition of the Italian railway employees.

 

 

2. The tendency of the companies to economize on the railway personnel has led to the adoption of system of remuneration which help to increase the amount of labor performed by the individual employee and to diminish the cost of that labor. Of these systems some, like the supplementary wage system and the task system, are still used by nearly all other European railways, but there is one system which outside of Italy seems to have been adopted only, and that to a slight extent, by the Austrian Southern Railway (Sudbahn), but which in Italy has acquired the greatest importance, viz, the system of gainsharing in the stations. This system presents some new characteristics, and as this is a highly interesting form of remuneration of labor, it has been thought worth while to devote considerable space to its discussion. It is believed that it may prove of value to those who occupy themselves with the problems of labor and the method of dividing the total products of industry between labor and capital.

 

 

3. The tendency of the companies to introduce economics in all branches of the railway service has led to a discontent which pervades all the railway employees. Although it is a fact that railway employees are better paid than other Italian workingmen, they still contend that they are being robbed by the companies who have obtained the railway concession. The most important external manifestations of discontent are shown by the organization of railway labor and by strikes. To these two point have been assigned two special subdivision. For the present it may be simply mentioned that Italian railway employees are placed in a peculiar position both as to organization of labor and as to strikes. In theory Italian workingmen are permitted to organize and to strike, and this might also be conceded to railway employees in the service of private companies. But employees in the service of a railway system which is owned by the State may be regarded as being attached to a public service of the State which for the time has been delegated to a private company. Acting upon this principle the Government of Italy, which has always denied the right of its employees to organize or strike, has intervened by dissolving railway labor organizations and by repressing any attempt at railway strikes. It succeeded in this by introducing a system of militarism among the railway employees and by declaring strikes to be criminal offenses.

 

 

4. The complicated relations existing between the State and these companies, and the lack of clearness in some points of the contracts of concession, are the causes which render it impracticable for the time being to consider the pension fund for railway employees. It is true that there are some funds in existence out of which pensions should be paid to superannuated and disabled railway employees, but as no attention has ever been given to these funds either by the companies or by the State they are meeting with tremendous deficits and it is not known how this evil can be remedied. It is hardly proper to speak of these pension funds, at least until they are reorganized and present some guarantee of stability and good management. A bill for the reorganization of the pension funds is now being discussed by Parliament.

 

 

NUMBER OF EMPLOYEES

 

As to the number of persons employed in the Adriatic, the Mediterranean, and the Sicilian systems, the tables following give an idea sufficiently exact. The initial personnel of the Mediterranean and the Adriatic systems was that which in 1885 belonged to the various railway administrations in the State and amounted to 72,961 persons, of which 41,098 belonged to the upper Italian railways, 12,616 to the Roman railways, 17,692 to the southern and Calabrese railways, and 1,555 to the establishments of Pietrarsa and of the Granili. Of these 72,961 persons, 39,724 were assigned to the Mediterranean system and 33,237 to the Adriatic system.

 

 

The division of the employees among the three great system, from 1885 to 1897, follows in detail:

TOTAL EMPLOYEES, AND EMPLOYEES PER MILE IN OPERATION, ON MEDITERRANEAN SYSTEM JULY 1, 1885, TO JULY 1, 1897.

 

 

Year

Miles in operation

Permanent employees

Temporary employees

In service

Per mile in operation

In service

Per mile in operation

1885

2,615.97

39,629

15.15

3,173

1.21

1886

2,709.17

39,754

14.67

5,665

2.09

1887

2,827.23

39,849

14.09

6,583

2.33

1888

2,854.57

41,248

14.45

6,741

2.36

1889

2,949.02

43,339

14.70

5,639

1.91

1890

3,006.19

43,731

14.55

4,390

1.46

1891

3,644.71

43,652

14.34

3,010

99

1892

3,232.99

42,876

13.26

2,853

88

1893

3,277.11

43,432

13.25

2,965

91

1894

3,415.67

43,165

12.64

2,836

83

1895

3,547.40

44,247

12.47

4,390

1.24

1896

3,685.35

44,622

12.11

4,407

1.19

1897

3,692.18

45,222

12.25

4,359

1.18

 

 

Year

Total employees

Physicians not included in total

Females included in total

In service

Per mile in operation

1885

42,802

16.36

96

1,482

1886

45,419

16.76

528

1,564

1887

46,432

16.42

559

1,584

1888

47,989

16.81

649

1,496

1889

48,978

16.61

695

1,966

1890

48,121

16.01

739

2,236

1891

46,662

15.33

747

2,442

1892

45,729

14.14

780

2,497

1893

46,397

14.16

806

2,941

1894

46,001

13.47

840

2,921

1895

48,637

13.71

861

3,148

1896

49,029

13.30

889

3,154

1897

49,581

13.43

898

3,082

 

 

TOTAL EMPLOYEES, AND EMPLOYEES PER MILE IN OPERATION, ON ADRIATIC SYSTEM JANUARY 1, 1885, TO JULY 1,1897

 

 

Year

Miles in operation

Permanent employees

Temporary employees

In service

Per mile in operation

In service

Per mile in operation

1885

2,612.85

28,077

10.62

4,960

1.88

1886

2,699.30

31,625

11.71

2,695

1.00

1887

2,862.40

32,184

11.24

3,075

1.08

1888

2,937.58

33,064

11.25

3,224

1.10

1889

3,095.27

31,583

11.18

3,692

1.19

1890

3,174.65

35,465

11.17

3,752

1.18

1891

3,196.16

36,923

11.55

3,362

1.05

1892

3,214.49

36,574

11.38

3,434

1.07

1893

3,334.55

34,826

10.45

3,917

1.18

1894

3,403.95

33,706

9.90

4,172

1.23

1895

3,382.39

32,572

9.63

4,513

1.34

1896

3,444.81

31,730

9.21

4,682

1.36

1897

3,444.81

32,207

9.35

3,589

1.04

a July 1

Year

Total employees

Nonsalaried physicians not included in total

Females included in total

 

In service

Per mile in operation

1885

33,037

12.50

173

2,324

1886

34,320

12.71

564

2,885

1887

35,259

12.32

598

3,001

1888

36,288

12.35

597

3,110

1889

38,275

12.37

582

3,241

1890

39,217

12.35

588

3,351

1891

40,285

12.60

591

3,339

1892

40,008

12.45

614

3,479

1893

38,773

11.63

626

3,590

1894

37,878

11.13

639

3,735

1895

37,115

10.97

640

3,724

1896

36,412

10.57

651

3,794

1897

35,796

10.39

654

3,880

 

 

TOTAL EMPLOYEES, AND EMPLOYEES PER MILE IN OPERATION, ON SICILIAN SYSTEM JANUARY 1, 1885, TO JULY 1,1897

 

 

Year

Miles in operation

Permanent employees

Temporary employees

In service

Per mile in operation

In service

Per mile in operation

1885

372.20

3,917

10.52

175

 0.47

1886

395.81

3,819

9.72

202

.51

1887

415.08

3,750

9.03

199

.48

1888

418.18

3,628

8.68

156

.37

1889

438.69

3,595

8.20

137

.31

1890

447.39

3,464

7.74

129

.31

1891

489.64

3,438

7.02

119

.24

1892

532.51

3,535

6.64

62

.11

1893

623.23

3,844

6.17

42

.07

1894

653.06

3,964

6.07

80

.12

1895

692.83

4,126

5.96

35

.03

1896

697.80

4,172

5.98

75

.11

1897

697.80

4,238

6.07

186

.27

 

 

Year

Temporary employees

In service

In service

1885

4,092

10.99

1886

4,051

10.23

1887

3,949

9.51

1888

3,784

9.05

1889

3,732

8.51

1890

3,603

8.05

1891

3,557

7.26

1892

3,597

6.75

1893

3,886

6.24

1894

4,044

6.19

1895

4,161

6.01

1896

4,247

6.09

1897

4,424

6.34

 

 

It will be seen from the tables given that in the Adriatic system the figures representing the relation between the number of employees and the mileage in operation remained high and even increased during the period from 1885 to 1892, but in 1893 there was a marked decrease, and the downward tendency continued until 1897, when the lowest point was reached. A similar fluctuation occurred in the Mediterranean system. The figures remained high, some years increasing, until 1890, after which they decreased quite rapidly to reach finally in 1896 and 1897 the lowest points. This decreasing tendency, which for the companies of the mainland manifests itself only in a second period of operation, manifests itself immediately in the Sicilian system. It commenced with 1886 and continued until the last few years – infallible signs, without doubt, of the intention of this company from its beginning to gradually diminish the expenditures for employees.

 

 

It is thus shown that on July 1, 1897, the date on which are based all the calculations published by the commission of inquiry, the number of employees per mile operated by the three principal Italian systems was 13.43 for the Mediterranean, 10.39 for the Adriatic, and 6.34 for the Sicilian system, or 11.46 for the three systems combined. It certainly can not be contended that the number of employees on Italian railways is excessive. The number of men employed per mile is inferior to that of many other European railways. This is due to the persevering efforts made by the various companies to reduce the number of their employees in order to obtain greater profits in the operation of the railways, the cost of which in Italy is very high. The fact remains that whether caused by the nature of the country traversed by the roads, by the numerous tunnels, or by the malaria existing in many regions traversed by the railways, the expenditures in payment of employees are greater than those of many other foreign railways, as can be seen from the following table:

 

PER CENT OF EXPENDITURES IN PAYMENT OF EMPLOYEES ON EUROPEAN RAILWAY SYSTEMS OF TOTAL RECEIPTS AND OF TOTAL OPERATING EXPENSES

 

 

Railway systems

Per cent of total receipts

Per cent of total operating expenses

Austrian State system (1891)

34.37

58.53

Belgian State system (1894)

31.59

55.84

Imperial system of Alsace-Lorraine (1894-95)

36.51

63.11

Italy:
Mediterranean system (1893)

47.96

69.82

Adriatic system (1893)

44.93

68.48

Sicilian system (1893)

55.31

59.30

Prussian State system (1894-95)

36.22

65.35

Swiss system of the Gothard (1894)

23.10

48.55

 

 

The size of these expenditures explain the reason why the three companies have tried to diminish the number of their employees, either by adopting the system of gain-sharing in the stations or by having recourse to temporary employees at certain periods of the year when there is increased railway activity, as, for instance, during the time of transporting the grape crop in the months of September and October. The system of gain-sharing will be treated further on. So far as the temporary employees are concerned, they are engaged only from day to day when there is a necessity for their service, and only for the length of time that necessity exists. It will be seen that in the year 1897, in the Adriatic system, there were 32,207 persons more or less regularly employed, while there were 3,589 temporary employees; in the Mediterranean system the proportion was 45,222 regular to 4,359 temporary employees, and in the Sicilian system there were 4,238 regular and 186 temporary employees. It will be seen that about one-tenth of the employees are temporary, and it is among these workingmen, who have very little hope of retaining their position, that the discontented are mostly found. On the other hand, the companies contend, and with reason, that they can not afford to employ regularly a large personnel when the increased number can be used only in certain extraordinary emergencies, as, for instance, the time of vintage, which lasts from 30 to 40 days in a whole year.

 

 

HOURS OF LABOR

 

The Italian law of March 20, 1865, regarding public works, while it treats specifically of the numerical sufficiency and the proficiency of the personnel, is silent so far as hours of labor are concerned. Article 10 simply provides that «the companies must fix a time schedule of service for the employees so as to allow them the necessary hours of continuous rest». This article is the only one now actually in force, and is so vague that it has no real bearing and importance.

 

 

As to the state of affairs actually existing, there is a marked difference between the statements of the companies and those of the railway employees. The three companies uniformly affirm that the time schedules are so arranged as to provide for the necessary rest. According to the statement of the Adriatic company, the hours of labor vary from 7 hours per day for the office employees to 10 or 12 hours for those at the stations and 10 for the employees in the workshops. In no case can the hours of labor exceed 14 per day. For the travelling employees, working periods are established with such hours of duty and of rest as are compatible with the exigencies of the service. In establishing these working periods a distinction is made between chief conductors (with a daily average of 8 hours and 21 minutes for the working days) and conductors (8 hours and 41 minutes), and between chief brakemen (8 hours and 24 minutes) and brakemen (8 hours and 38 minutes). The hours of service are not consecutive, and provision is made (1) to keep employees as short a time as possible away from their homes; (2) to secure to the train employees an interval of continuous rest of at least 7 hours in every 24, besides the necessary time for meals; (3) whenever the arrangement of the time-table of trains does not permit this interval of rest, to have the hours of excessive duty preceded and followed by long intervals of rest and of light service; (4) to insert between successive working periods days to complete rest and to have a number of employees in reserve at their homes who may be called upon when needed for extra duty or in cases of absence on account of sickness, furloughs, etc.

 

 

About the same rules obtain for the other two companies. The Mediterranean company contend that sufficient rest is allowed. According to the Sicilian company engineers and firemen have 2 days of rest after working periods of 7 to 10 days (broken, of course, by shorter rests for eating and sleeping), and the other travelling employees have for each working period 1 day of rest and sometimes 1 of reserve duty. In the workshops the hours of labor are 10 per day.

 

 

But the railroad employees strenuously contradict the truth of the statements of the companies. The engineers and firemen of the Adriatic system complain that they are obliged to work during 21 consecutive hours, and sometimes longer when there are delays in the trains, so that the necessary hours of rest between one turn and another are curtailed. The engineers and firemen of the Mediterranean system complain that they have to work even up to 36 hours continuously. The League of Italian Railway Employees in one of its memorials affirms that the companies, in order to diminish expenses, are continually looking out for reductions in the number of employees, particularly of the lower grades, who, in consequence, are burdened with much more labor. Speaking of the working days of some classes of employees, they claim that in several stations the reduction of the number of employees has increased the hours of labor considerably beyond the normal limit, not infrequently up to 16, 17, 18, and 19 hours per day. As regards the traveling employees, cases are cited of working periods in which the hours of continuous labor are excessive, as well on account of the way the periods are arranged as through accidental causes, such as delays, reserve service, etc., which frequently disturb the regularity of the service and thereby cause the intervals of rest to become insufficient or to be entirely eliminated.

 

 

The locomotive employees make similar complaints, particularly in view of the fatiguing service which they perform. Besides the delays which cause a diminution of the hours of rest, the league reports that the working periods of the locomotive employees are more exacting than they were in the past, particularly for the three following reasons: (1) The suppression on the part of the Adriatic company of the days of rest, and the existence on the part of the Mediterranean of many days called days or rest, which in reality are not such; (2) the uninterrupted service of the personnel from the first to the last day of the working period, including the hours of reserve duty between one train and another, during which the personnel is always liable to be called to work; (3) the withdrawal of many reserve locomotives. From several working periods reported, it was ascertained that on certain days the hours of labor amounted to 12, 14, 16, 18, and 20, including the accessory work which the employees must perform.

 

 

It is difficult to harmonize these contradictory statements of the companies and of the railway employees. The declarations of the Government inspectors ought to be impartial by virtue of their office. According of these inspectors the labor in general can not be called excessive, but they agree in the statement that, for various reasons, the service may become extremely arduous during times of delay on the railways, due to defects in the machinery, accidents, the vintage season, etc. According to the statements of these inspectors, the labor in the stations varies from a minimum of 10 hours to a maximum of 14 hours per day; but in special cases this time is increased, and in some stations, which are affected by the system of gain sharing, the time of rest is ordinarily reduced to less than 5 consecutive hours. In these cases the employees do not obtain sufficient rest, and they are therefore deprived of that clearness of mind and degree of vigor which is necessary for the security and regularity of the railway service. In some stations the labor is so hard that it would fatigue the most robust constitution.

 

 

As to the train crew, the inspectors acknowledge that the time schedules are arranged so as to leave the necessary hours of continuous rest, but in practice the time is extended until the hours of duty often become more or less excessive. This is due to time lost in preparatory work before the departure of the trains, and in the subsequent work after their arrival, such as turning over the rolling stock, etc.; the distance of the homes of employees from the stations, which is sometimes considerable, and the failure to provide a sufficient reserve force. Nearly all mention cases of time schedules of 14, 16, 17, 18, and 19 hours, although some of the inspectors consider them less of a hard-ship than appears at first sight, because they are a source of gain to the personnel. Certainly one can not but be unfavorably impressed when it is learned from one of the best inspectors that there are time schedules which allow conductors but 4 hours of rest. As to the locomotive employees, the average daily hours of labor vary, according to the inspectors, from 8 to 12 hours. So far as the higher limit is concerned, some inspectors have reported the hours to be from 15 to 20, while others report them at a lower figure. It is certain, however, that during periods of increased traffic, or when delays occur, there is not a sufficient continuous rest to permit the engineers and firemen to recuperate.

 

 

Reasoning from the result obtained by the investigation, which certainly have not thrown a very favorable light on the condition of the railway employees, the commission of inquiry, after having thoroughly examined the legislative enactments adopted in other countries, has presented to the Government the following suggestion relative to the hours of labor of railway employees: «The Government should modify article 10 of the regulations of railway labor (which has already been cited), establishing definitely the number of hours of continuous rest, which must not be less than 7, and making such provisions as may be necessary to prevent any evasions of the law whatever, for which purpose the laws and regulations of other States should be consulted and adopted». These provisions, which the commission wishes to see adopted in Italy, must regulate the distribution of labor so that it will not cause extreme fatigue by its excessive duration. The labor should, therefore, alternate from time to time so that the employees may be permitted to sufficiently recuperate. The proposed rules should be so framed that their application will preserve that flexibility which is necessary in the interest both of the personnel and of a well regulated service. Distinction must therefore be made between a continuous rest which can be bad at home and a brief rest which can be enjoyed away from home. The latter can be limited to the time necessary to recuperate for the time being the strength of the employees, provided that later a better rest at home will be allowed. The commission recommends the special study and the imitation of the laws now in force in Germany, France, England, and Switzerland. (a)

 

 

WAGES

 

Of all matters relating to the condition of the railway employees that of wages is the most obscure and complicated. This is due to the following circumstances: According to the terms of the contracts by which the operation of the roads was given over by the State to the companies, the latter agreed to formulate an organic roll in which all the employees were to be classified, the roll showing their number and their respective remuneration. The companies have never complied with this obligation, because they wish to retain the liberty to augment or diminish the salaries and wages, anticipate or delay promotions, etc. The figures which are published in the transactions of the commission of inquiry are not sufficiently complete or satisfactory to give any exact idea of the mode in which railway employees are paid. Taking into consideration all the data in existence, the following points will be discussed: (1) Salaries and wages in general; (2) supplementary wages; (3) task wages; and (4) the gain-sharing system in the stations.

 

 

So far as salaries and wages in general are concerned, the table following shows the annual salaries and wages paid in the Adriatic system at two periods, namely, in 1885 and in 1896. The figures are given according to the groups of railways formerly known as the Southern and Calabro-Sicilian, the Roman, and the Upper Italian, by the combination of which the Adriatic system was created.

 

 

ANNUAL SALARIES AND WAGES OF EACH CLASS OF EMPLOYEES OF ADRIATIC SYSTEM, BY FORMER GROUPS OF RAILWAYS, FOR YEARS ENDING JUNE 30, 1885, AND JUNE 30, 1896

 

 

Classes of employees June 30, 1896

Number of employees

Salaries and wages

Year ending June 30, 1885

Total

Average

SOUTHERN AND CALABRO-SICILIAN LINES
Administrative

1,768

$ 599,772.40

$ 339.24

Operating

1,493

264,982.05

177.48

Laboring

3,882

480,384.14

123.75

Females (a)

Total

7,143

1,345,138.59

188.32

ROMAN LINES
Administrative

937

308,737.08

329.50

Operating

630

118,510.11

188.11

Laboring

1,842

246,170.34

133.64

Females (a)

109

3,196.08

29.32

Total

3,518

676,613.61

192.33

UPPER ITALIAN LINES
Administrative

1,684

503,163.74

298.79

Operating

2,013

364,385.54

178.36

Laboring

5,468

749,297.80

137.03

Females (a)

330

10,091.97

30.58

Total

9,525

1,626,939.05

170.81

TOTAL
Administrative

4,389

1,411,673.22

321.64

Operating

4,166

747,877.70

179.52

Laboring

11,192

1,475,852.28

131.87

Females (a)

439

13,288.05

30.27

Total

20,186

3,648,691.25

180.75

 

 

Classes of employees June 30, 1896

Number of employees

Salaries and wages

Average increase

Year ending June 30, 1896

Total

Average

SOUTHERN AND CALABRO SICILIAN LINES
Administrative

1,768

$ 926,118.99

$ 523.82

|$184.58

Operating

1,493

365,044.45

244.50

67.02

Laboring

3,882

562,883.54

145.00

21.25

Females (a)

Total

7,143

1,854,046.98

259.56

71.24

ROMAN LINES
Administrative

937

457,896.36

488.68

159.18

Operating

630

158,077.04

250.92

62.81

Laboring

1,842

288,500.07

156.62

22.98

Females (a)

109

4,460.62

40.92

11.60

Total

3,518

908,934.09

258.37

66.04

UPPER ITALIAN LINES
Administrative

1,684

741,379.39

440.25

141.46

Operating

2,013

490,506.22

240.09

61.73

Laboring

5,468

860,012.83

158.28

20.25

Females (a)

330

12,771.58

38.70

8.12

Total

9,525

2,104,670.02

220.96

50.15

TOTAL
Administrative

4,389

2,125,394.74

481.25

162.61

Operating

4,166

1,013,627.71

243.31

63.79

Laboring

11,192

1,711,396.44

152.91

21.04

Females (a)

439

17,232.20

39.25

8.98

Total

20,186

4,867,651.09

241.14

60.39

(a) Track watchers and toilet-room keepers

 

 

 

The tables does not include all the employees of the Adriatic system, but only those who came from the companies mentioned. It shows, however, the average earnings of railway employees. Those employees who form a part of the management and administration, such as station masters, etc., receive an average yearly salary of $ 484.25; the clerical or operating force, including copyists, accountants, controllers, ticket distributers, telegraphers, etc., as well as conductors and locomotive engineers, receive an average of $ 243.31; employees belonging to the class of laborers such as porters, switchmen, brakemen, gate keepers, etc., receive an average of $ 152.91, and females receive an average compensation of $ 39.25 per year. It may be stated that the females are employed either in guarding the tracks along the line or in the toilet rooms. They are mostly married women whose husbands are employed as laborers on the railways, and they are granted, besides their wages, the use of a small house free of rent, with a small piece of land on which to grow vegetables.

 

 

It may be stated here that the difference in average wages paid to the employees of the several system is not due to locality. The employees of the Italian railways are all paid in the same manner, no matter in what locality they belong. The difference is due to the fact that, in order to create the administrative personnel of the Southern and Calabro-Sicilian, a part of the Roman, and a very few higher-grade employees of the Upper Italian roads have been taken.

 

 

With regard to the Sicilian system, the minimum salaries and wages paid to the principal classes of employees, according to the schedule existing at the time of the cession, June 30, 1885, and according to the graduated table afterwards reported by the company, March 18, 1887, are shown in the following table:

 

 

MINIMUM SALARIES AND WAGES PAID EMPLOYEES OF THE SICILIAN SYSTEM, JUNE 30, 1885, AND MARCH 18, 1887

 

 

Occupation

Minimum salaries and wages

June 30, 1885

March 18, 1887

Chief director

$ 32.81 per month

$ 36.67 per month

Technical director

27.99 ” “

28.95 ” “

Chief managers

27.02 ” “

32.81 ” “

Managers

19.30 ” “

21.23 ” “

Station masters

21.23 ” “

{ 14.48 ” “

Clerical help

.39 per day

{ .48 per day

Station gate keepers

.39 ” “

.43 ” “

Yard masters

.58 ” “

.68 ” “

Yard men

.39 ” “

.46 ” “

Switchmen

.35 ” “

.39 ” “

Underservants (a)

.39 ” “

.42 ” “

Laborers

.31 ” “

.35 ” “

(a) The underservants (inservienti) attend gates and perform messenger and similar service for the administrative employees.

 

 

Following are given the exact amounts of wages annually paid to locomotive engineers and firemen, the two most important classes of employees in the railway personnel of the Mediterranean system, for the period 1886-87 to 1893-94:

 

 

AVERAGE ANNUAL WAGES PAID TO LOCOMOTIVE ENGINEERS BY THE MEDITERRANEAN SYSTEM, 1886-87 to 1893-94

 

 

Year

Fixed wages

 

Premiums for

 

Total wages and premiums

 

Economical use of material and time gained

 

Distance run

 

Good care of engine

 

Work away from home

 

1886-87

$326.17

$ 120.63

$ 52.11

$17.37

$99.40

$ 615.68

1887-88

321.35

128.35

52.11

21.23

94.57

617.61

1888-89

320.38

111.94

52.11

24.13

93.61

602.17

1889-90

318.45

110.01

51.15

24.13

88.78

592.52

1890-91

318.45

107.12

51.15

24.13

84.92

585.77

1891-92

315.56

109.05

51.15

24.13

82.03

581.92

1892-93

314.59

113.87

53.08

24.13

82.03

587.70

1893-94

312.66

112.91

52.11

24.13

81.06

582.87

AVERAGE ANNUAL WAGES PAID TO FIREMEN BY THE MEDITERRANEAN SYSTEM, 1886-87 TO 1893-94

 

 

Year

Fixed wages

Premiums (distance run and others)

Total wages and premiums

1886-87

$ 197.83

$ 166.95

$ 364.78

1887-88

200.72

151.51

352.23

1888-89

200.72

150.54

351.26

1889-90

201.69

143.79

345.48

1890-91

202.65

136.07

338.72

1891-92

199.76

136.07

335.83

1892-93

201.69

146.68

348.37

1893-94

200.72

141.86

342.58

 

 

As will be seen, there is in both classes a tendency toward a reduction of wages, due to the system of economy inaugurated by the company and also to the unprosperous condition of Italy, which forces many workingmen to be satisfied with much lower wages than they formerly received. But, taken all in all, it can not be said that the railway employees are poorly paid as compared with employees in other industries. To demonstrate this it will be sufficient to examine the following data showing the wages paid in 1897 in the principal groups of worker in Italy:

 

 

WAGES PAID IN CERTAIN LOCALITIES AND OCCUPATIONS IN 1897

 

 

Locality

Occupation

Sex

Daily wages

Sardinia Miners

Male

$ 0.52 to $ 0.78

Sardinia Masons

Male

.59

Sardinia Teamsters

Male

.41

Sicily Miners in sulphur mines

Male

.48 to .68

Romagna Miners in sulphur mines

Male

.41

Turin Joiners

Male

.58

Turin Horseshoers

Male

.62

Turin Laborers

Male

.42

Genoa Blacksmiths

Male

.77

Genoa Boilermakers

Male

.87

Genoa Casters or founders (fonditori)

Male

.97

Genoa Common and ordinary laborers

Male

.58

Naples Blacksmiths

Male

.94

Naples Boilermakers

Male

.83

Naples Casters or founders (fonditori)

Male

.91

Naples Common and ordinary laborers

Male

.44

Biella Dyers, wool

Male

.43

Biella Carders, wool

Male

.58

Biella Spinners, wool

Male

.77

Biella Winders, wool

Female

.29

Biella Weavers, wool

Female

.48

Biella Burlers (pinzatrici)

Female

.29

 

 

The employees of railways, besides being better paid than workingmen in other industries, have also a more continuous and secure remuneration, since they are employed during the whole year, and in addition to their fixed wages have other allowances which contribute to augment their total earnings.

 

 

SUPPLEMENTARY WAGES

 

There are many classes of supplementary wages. Following is the classification adopted by the Mediterranean system:

 

 

SUPPLEMENTARY WAGES WHICH ARE OPTIONAL IN CHARACTER. – Extra compensation paid to employees on the clerical force; premiums granted for meritorious service, for promptly turning in lost or forgotten objects, for acts tending to prevent accidents or delays in the running of trains, for discovering abuses in the use of freight cars, for proving violations of the railway regulations, for lubricating and repairing railway stock, for economy in the use of supplies in the stations, and to the warehouse employees for regularity in the distribution of fuel; gratuites for telegraphic service; compensation for extraordinary labor; warm drinks.

 

 

SUPPLEMENTARY WAGES PAID ON ACCOUNT OF PECULIAR CONDITIONS OF TIME AND LOCALITY. – Indemnity on account of malaria, compulsory sojourn away from home, isolation, wagon and horseback service, transfers, night service; increased pay on account of greater cost of necessaries of life, employment in thickly settled localities, confining service, for wood during the winter season.

 

 

SUPPLEMENTARY WAGES DEFENDING UPON SERVICES PERFORMED. – Indemnity corresponding to hours of labor, compensation for labor which prevents an uninterrupted rest of at least 6 hours, for lodgings, for distance run, for tunnel service, for services as substitutes, for labor of a character superior to that pertaining to the grade of the employee, for the services of some classes of employees such as store-keepers, gate keeper, and switchmen; premium for economy in the use of fuel and lubricating material, for time gained, for keeping locomotive in goods condition, for careful use of materials, for careful handling of freight; compensation for helping as the turntables or side tracks, for care in the use and preservation of tools.

 

 

The Sicilian company allows its employees the following supplementary wages: Compensation for increased labor and rewards for zeal and diligence on the part of the employees in the fulfillment of their respective functions; gratuites for such acts on the part of the employees as may merit special mention whether performed directly or indirectly in the line of service.

 

 

The sums distributed on these grounds among the employees from July 1, 1885, to June 30, 1896, amounted to 351,352.36 lire ($ 67,791.90).

 

 

In the prepayment of wages to employees to meet unforeseen expenses, either of the family or individual, such as expenses of moving, sickness, taxes, etc., the company during the above-mentioned period has advanced wage payments amounting to 249,314.69 lire ($ 48,117.74).

 

 

The traveling employees are compensated for distance run and for nights necessarily spent away from their homes. For example, a conductor who has run 4,750 kilometers (2,951.51 miles) – an average which nearly all of them surpass – receives, outside of his regular monthly wages, a total indemnity for distance run amounting to 32.75 lire ($ 6.32).

 

 

Premiums are given locomotive engineers and firemen for economy in the use of fuel and lubricating materials. In order to cover this allowance a monthly reward of 80 lire ($ 15.44) for locomotive engineers and 40 lire ($ 7.72) for firemen, which may not exceed 130 lire ($ 25.09) for the former and 65 lire ($ 12.55) for the latter, is given.

 

 

Premiums are also given to locomotive engineers and firemen who have been particularly attentive in keeping their locomotives in good condition during the year and who have never caused delays in the train schedules. For these a premium has been set aside amounting to 6,580 lire ($ 1,269.94), distributed as follows:

 

 

Locomotive engineers

4 premiums of 140 lire ($ 27.02)

Locomotive engineers

10 premiums of 120 lire ($ 23.16)

Locomotive engineers

20 premiums of 80 lire ($ 15.44)

Locomotive engineers

26 premiums of 50 lire ($ 9.65)

Firemen

28 premiums of 40 lire ($ 7.72)

Firemen

32 premiums of 25 lire ($ 4.82)

 

 

Semiannual premiums are granted for meritorious services on the part of the station employees. Premiums are also given to the station employees for the careful use of the personal property in their care and for economy in the use of supplies.

 

 

As indemnity on account of malaria, the three classes of employees (administrative, operating, and laboring) who live in the more malarial zone receive an average annual extra compensation of 228 lire ($ 44); those residing in the less malarial zone receive 132 lire ($ 25.48). As to the traveling personnel, the daily extra compensation of controllers, locomotive engineers, chief conductors, and conductors during the summer months amounts to 0.45, 0.40, and 0.35 lira (8., 7., and 6. cents), according to the location of their homes, and of brakemen and firemen to 0.35, 0.30, and 0.25 lira (6., 5., and 4. cents). Besides this the company furnishes at an annual expense of 10,000 lire ($ 1,930), free of cost to all who apply, the fluid extract of lemon especially prepared for the company, this extract having been recognized as a superior remedy against malarial infection.

 

 

During the period from 1885 to 1896 there was distributed as assistance to the employees in cases of sickness 121,981.90 lire ($ 23,542.51).

 

 

As assistance given to families of deceased employees, there was expended during the above-mentioned period a total of 88,677.20 lire ($ 17,114.70), or an average of more than 500 lire ($ 96.50) per family for the employees in the administrative department, 300 lire ($ 57.90) per family for operating employees, and 200 lire ($ 38.60) per family for the laboring classes.

 

 

The company allows a final indemnity to employees when they leave the service, the total sum granted for such purposes up to the present amounting to 253,789.86 lire ($ 48,980.86). At an average, this represent an indemnity of 1,500 lire ($ 289.50) for each administrative employee, 830 lire ($ 160.19) for each operating employee, and about 600 lire ($ 115.80) for employees performing ordinary labor.

 

 

A premium is given for keeping the road in good condition. This is allowed to the employees detailed to look after the condition of the road and roadbed. By this means a double purpose is secured – that of increasing the pay of supervisors, gang bosses, and track walker, and of securing increased activity on their part in looking after such minor work along the line as cleaning and clearing drains, removing weeds, piling stones, taking care of embankments, trimming hedges, etc. For such purposes the following scale of compensation was established: Six lire ($ 1.16) per month for supervisor, 3 lire ($ 0.58) for gang bosses, and 2 lire ($ 0.39) for track walker. During the period from 1885 to 1896 the sum of 150,297.40 lire ($ 29,007.40) was expended for this purpose.

 

 

Premiums for lubricating and repairing cars are also granted. Through these premiums, for which 8,179 lire ($ 1,578.55) were distributed during the years 1894 and 1895, the purpose was accomplished of making the employees engaged in lubricating more economical in the use of the material. It also made them more careful in their work, and thus diminished the number of hot boxes.

 

 

Recently premiums were given for good service on the part of the lamplighters and laborers attached to the lighting department. This new reward secured to the employees premiums varying from 5 to 9 lire ($ 0.97 to $ 1.74) per month.

 

 

A residence indemnity is granted to the lower grade employees in the main stations of the system, and, in general, to those obliged to live in the great centers, where the cost of living in high.

 

 

So far as the Adriatic company is concerned it is not necessary to repeat the enumeration of the various supplementary wage items which it allows to its employees, especially as they are similar to those allowed by the other companies. Instead of this the importance of all these supplementary allowances, as a whole, as compared with the regular wages, will be considered. Thus it can be determined whether supplementary wages increase the earnings in a marked degree or not. The two tables following will show the amounts of supplementary wages during the two periods from 1878 to 1884, and from July 1, 1885, to June 30, 1896. During the first period the railways were operated partly by the State and partly by private companies; during the second period the railways were all operated by the Adriatic company. From these tables it will be seen whether the condition of railway employees has improved or otherwise during recent years. The two tables follow.

 

 

TOTAL FIXED AND SUPPLEMENTARY EARNINGS OF EMPLOYEES OF THE ADRIATIC SYSTEM, COMPARED, 1878 TO 1884

 

 

Year

Salaries, wages, and fixed allowances

Supplementary wages, indemnities premiums, etc.

Per cent of supplementary wages, etc., of salaries, wages, and fixed allowances

1878

$ 9,159,342.08

$ 1,548,106.27

16.90

1879

9,258,572.07

1,596,326.74

17.24

1880

9,908,587.38

1,782,876.68

17.99

1881

10,387,109.07

1,944,427.52

18.72

1882

11,034,259.88

2,087,424.31

18.92

1883

11,773,887.41

2,411,347.79

 20.48

1884

12,444,852.88

2,566,448.19

20.62

Average

10,566,658.68

1,990,993.93

18.84

 

 

TOTAL FIXED AND SUPPLEMENTARY EARNINGS OF EMPLOYEES OF THE ADRIATIC SYSTEM, COMPARED, JULY 1, 1885, TO JUNE 30, 1896

 

 

Year

Salaries, wages, and fixed allowances

Supplementary wages, indemnities premiums, etc.

Per cent of supplementary wages, etc., of salaries, wages, and fixed allowances

1885(a)

$ 2,858,468.77

$ 607,424.65

21.25

1886

6,305,310.00

1,510,752.28

23.96

1887

6,549,455.00

1,746,650.00

26.67

1888

7,078,685.51

1,840,855.04

26.01

1889

7,535,129.74

1,878,799.22

24.93

1890

7,777,668.40

2,007,694.08

25.81

1891

7,842,285.31

2,020,787.01

25.77

1892

7,445,521.19

1,857,775.15

24.95

1893

7,464,925.22

1,778,300.84

23.82

1894

7,252,298.66

1,897,302.33

26.16

1895

7,200,246.75

1,909,256.94

26.52

1896(b)

3,603,656.21

945,181.60

26.23

Average

7,173,968.44

1,818,252.65

25.35

(a) For the last 6 months (b) For the first 6 months

 

 

From these tables it will be seen that the percentage of supplementary wages of the fixed wages has increased so that while before 1885 the average percentage was 18.84, in the period from 1885 to 1896 the average had risen to 25.35 per cent.

 

 

It can be contended that the increase of the supplementary wages is due to contemporaneous diminution of the fixed wages, because the average of the latter has increased from 929.26 lire ($ 179.35) to 1,105.73 ($ 196.04).

 

 

This shows that the supplementary wages have increased absolutely as well as relatively.

 

 

Before closing this discussion it seems opportune to make a comparison between the various companies, so far as the supplementary wages are concerned. As it is impossible to consider all the different classes, only indemnities for malaria are shown. Unfortunately, the greater part of Italy is infected with malaria. All three companies have, therefore, fixed upon an indemnity to their employees whenever they are obliged to live in malarial regions.

 

 

In the following table are indicated the annual indemnities paid to the various classes of the employees in the more malarial as well as in the less malarial zones:

 

 

ANNUAL ALLOWANCES FOR LIVING IN THE MORE AND LESS MALARIAL DISTRICTS

 

 

Class of employees

Adriatic system

Mediterranean system

Sicilian system

More malarial

Less malarial

More malarial

Less malarial

More malarial

Less malarial

First

$ 44.58

$ 10.42

$ 33.97

$ 6.95

$ 43.43

$ 10.42

Second

29.53

6.95

23.16

4.63

27.21

6.95

Third

20.84

4.63

16.21

3.47

19.69

4.63

Fourth

13.90

3.47

9.26

2.32

13.90

3.47

 

 

THE TASK WAGE SYSTEM

 

The task wage system has been extensively adopted by the three companies, but the Sicilian company does not apply it to the station service and uses it more rarely than the other two companies, particularly the Adriatic company, which, owing to its very active industrial traffic, has seen proper to give it a greater development, and has applied it to such branches of the service as the supervision and labor of road construction and maintenance, which the Mediterranean company after a trial has abandoned.

 

 

The task wage system is applied to the following branches of service:

 

 

FREIGHT HANDLING ON SLOW FREIGHT TRAINS – The employees engaged in this class of labor are credited with a fixed amount for a certain unit of labor. At the end of the month the amounts so credited for labor performed are summed up; from this total are then deducted the amounts set down as the regular and supplementary wages of the permanent force (not including wages of temporary employees), the cost of the yard service, expenditures due to losses or damages, and finally a fixed amount for wear and repair of tools. If after the deduction of the amount of these items there remains a surplus, a portion of it, usually varying from 20 to 35 per cent, is distributed semiannually among the employees. The distribution of this part of the surplus is based upon the quantity and quality of the labor performed by each participant. This basis of distribution is not made known to the employees. They know the value of each unit and the number of units of labor performed, but are ignorant of the proportion of the surplus which each will receive, which amount should really be regarded as a gratuity rather than a participation in the profits.

 

 

WORK OF GENERAL INSPECTION OF THE ROADWAY – The gain in this case is computed according to the days of labor saved as compared with the number considered necessary and just. The calculation is made on the basis that each employee must examine daily a certain length of track. An amount equal to a part of the value of the time thus saved is distributed among the employees.

 

 

LABOR IN THE WORKSHOP – The gain by the task wage system in this branch of work consists of the difference between the price of a piece of work as agreed upon between the company and the workingmen and the actual cost of the labor necessary to execute it. If this difference should be against the workingmen, which occurs only in exceptional cases, then the participants in the task must reimburse the company to that extent. This reimbursement may, however, be remitted if it can be shown that the deficit was due to lack of skill and not to negligence.

 

 

Besides this task wage depending upon the cost of a piece of work there is still another, called a premium, which depends upon the time required to perform the task. This premium increases the wages of each participant (by from one-tenth to one-fifth in the Adriatic system) if the work is completed before a stipulated time.

 

 

LABOR IN THE COAL DEPOTS – Task wages were also introducted in the coal depots, the premium consisting of a uniform allowance for each ton handled above a fixed number of metric tons established as a normal day’s work. The allowance of this premium is optional.

 

 

SUPERVISION AND LABOR OF ROAD CONSTRUCTION AND MAINTENANCE – In the first division of the Mediterranean system the personnel formerly had a right to as many times 750 lire ($ 144.75) as there were less employees in each class than were established by the organic roll.

 

 

ECONOMY IN THE USE OF STATION AND OFFICE SUPPLIES – To each office or station an annual allowance is made for certain objects of regular consumption and for stationery. The personnel is entitled to 50 per cent of the amount saved over and above this allowance.

 

 

OFFICE WORK – In the auditing division of the Adriatic system the work is done outside the normal working hours and even at the homes of the employees. The compensation for this work is agreed upon from time to time between the division chief and the task worker and must not exceed a certain sum allowed semiannually for this purpose exclusive of the regular salary allowance from one semiannual period to another.

 

 

In the Mediterranean system this work is performed outside the regular hours and is paid for according to an established tariff of remuneration. The work is not obligatory.

 

 

The work of copying contracts and tariffs in the Mediterranean system is paid for according to a fixed scale and is optional.

 

 

In order to give a correct idea of the results of the task wage system, there is shown in the following table, for a series of years, the total task-system wages paid to office employees in 5 Italian cities.

 

 

TOTAL TASK WAGES PAID TO RAILWAY OFFICE EMPLOYEES IN 5 ITALIAN CITIES, 1885 TO 1895

 

 

Year

Turin

Naples

Milan

1885

$ 55,402.10

$ 5,700.17

1886

117,275.97

13,156.63

1887

128,591.89

$ 42,625.24

14,798.28

1888

143,942.28

46,923.50

17,126.62

1889

153,221.18

49,638.25

17,456.78

1890

152,469.84

54,210.15

16,841.94

1891

147,718.55

55,890.37

16,550.14

1892

150,730.81

60,410.19

17,321.72

1893

136,149.15

64,059.29

17,914.49

1894

140,011.96

68,042.15

19,365.19

1895

154,278.60

75,693.74

19,785.99

Total

1,479,792.33

517,492.88

176,017.95

 

 

Year

Siena

Rivarolo

Total

1885

$ 61,102.27

1886

$ 4,587.25

135,019.85

1887

11,109.88

197,125.29

1888

15,603.90

223,596.30

1889

17,166.72

237,482.93

1890

19,991.97

243,513.90

1891

21,890.04

$ 1,931.75

243,980.85

1892

22,584.27

14,841.93

265,888.92

1893

20,886.68

23,029.41

262,039.02

1894

27,711.98

24,354.68

279,485.96

1895

31,203.67

23,053.09

304,015.09

Total

192,736.36

87,210.86

2,453,250.38

 

 

It may be stated in this connection that the Mediterranean system has, through the adoption of the task wage system, affected a saving of 1,638,172 lire ($ 316,167.20) in yard service and ordinary labor in the stations alone. Of this sum 415,143 lire ($ 80,122.60) was distributed among the employees as their share.

 

 

Likewise, in consequence of the adoption of this task wage system by the Mediterranean company, the following premiums were paid during 3 fiscal years, 1893-94 to 1895-96, to the employees participating in the profits arising from the economic use of materials of consumption:

 

 

PREMIUMS PAID TO EMPLOYEES OF MEDITERRANEAN SYSTEM OUT OF SAVINGS FROM ECONOMIC USE OF MATERIALS, 1893-94 TO 1895-96

 

 

Year

Amount allotted

Amount consumed

Premium to personnel

1893-94

$ 706,786.37

$ 669,011.74

$ 34,747.71

1894-95

612,031.77

552,361.98

29,898.09

1895-96

585,804.10

533,651.68

26,076.27

Total

1,904,622.24

1,755,025.40

90,722.07

 

 

The results of the task wage system seem, therefore, to be sufficiently satisfactory, as well for the company, which was enabled to save considerable amounts of money on the current expenses, as for the employees, who, trough the generosity of the company, were enabled to participate in these savings. That the task wage system is approved by a great majority of the employees of the three great systems was evident to the commission of inquiry at Turin when it interrogated the employees, who presented themselves in great numbers. It seems that one of the employees began to make a speech, not against the abuses and effects of the task wage system, but against task labor itself as a means of earning wages. He was interrupted by such manifest signs of disapproval that he was obliged to admit that most of his companions did not share his hatred of the task wage system.

 

 

THE SYSTEM OF GAIN SHARING IN THE STATIONS

 

Closely related to the task wage system is that of gain sharing in the stations. This system was introducted in Italy in 1891 by the Adriatic company, which took as a model, with some modifications, the plan of the Austrian Sudbahn. This system had been followed there for a long time. The example of the Adriatic company was followed by the Mediterranean and Sicilian companies. The latter, however, after having introducted it as an experiment in its stations at Catania and at Caltagirone, discarded it, for the reason, as it claimed, that the system did not yet good result. The Adriatic and Mediterranean companies, however, retained and greatly developed the system, especially the Adriatic company, so that on October 1, 1898, there were 461 stations operating under the gain-sharing system. Of this number 324 belonged to the Adriatic and 137 to the Mediterranean company.

 

 

The Adriatic, which was the first company to introduce this system, proposed to solve the following problem:

 

 

Leaving untouched the fixed and supplementary wages and excluding from the new arrangement the employees whose service consist of safeguarding the road.

 

 

1. How reduce the station personnel in the administrative branches – that is, in the freight, baggage, ticket, and telegraph offices – as well as in the clerical and laboring force, (a) supplying the difference in the number of the first class by a less detailed and less specialized division of labor, and obtaining thereby a greater intensity of work; and (b) in the second class securing greater intensity of labor by a reduction in the force, and, whenever this force should not be sufficient to supply the needs of the station, authorizing the station master to employ temporary labor, from day to day, as may be necessary, this temporary help, according to the plans of the company, being intended to replace gradually the permanent laboring force, such as porters, laborers, etc.

 

 

2. How to compensate the two classes of employees by an equitable division of the savings realized through the increased intensity of labor caused by the new arrangement.

 

 

In what manner has the Adriatic company solved the first problem – that is, how could the number of station employees be reduced? Here is the method followed by the company, as stated by the latter:

 

 

The labor in the stations is well defined. First of all, it is necessary to closely distinguish, in the case of the station personnel, between hours of presence in service and hours of labor. In the small stations there is hardly any labor, and the service is mostly reduced to the necessity of being present at the time when trains pass; in many other stations the passenger and freight service would require less than one man’s labor. In these cases the only criterion on which to base an estimate of the force necessary to perform the labor called for consists of seeing to it that the hours of uninterrupted rest established by the regulations are strictly observed; but in the stations which have certain fixed traffic the basis on which to establish the numerical laboring force is different. In each of these stations one can daily know the number and kind of tickets distributed; the number of pieces of baggage handled; the amount of freight sent off, received, or in transit; the number of trains made up, broken up, or in transit; the number of cars handled; the quantity of freight handled; the number of telegrams received and sent; the number of letters, accounts, and statistical documents emanating from the superior offices, etc. All these operations constitute the sum total of the labor performed at the stations.

 

 

On this information is determined what the numerical strength of the personnel at the stations should be – that is, a careful calculation of the number of operations effectively completed and of the time necessary to perform each of them serves as the basis of the computation. In this manner all grounds for the discussion regarding the numerical sufficiency of the station personnel are eliminated, particularly as the employees performed in order to establish the proportionate share of the premiums to which each one is individually entitled. By this means it can be clearly decided whether or not the number of employees is adequate for the amount of labor to be performed.

 

 

The units of time necessary for each station operation were established in accordance with the following estimates:

 

 

Issuing an ordinary ticket on which there is no special registration or price computation

1 minute

Issuing a ticket at reduced price, a tourist’s ticket, etc.

10 minutes

Weighing and checking and taxing a piece of baggage

3 minutes

One shipping of goods by fast freight

10 minutes

One shipping of goods by slow freight

15 minutes

Clerical work for a train in transit

10 minutes

Clerical work for a train made up or broken up

25 minutes

Clerical work for each car arriving or departing

6 minutes

Transmission or receipt of a telegram

6 minutes

 

 

For other clerical work, correspondence, etc., there is allowed for each station over and above the units indicated a certain length of time equal in value to 20 per cent of the total daily labor of the station. On account of this additional allowance it becomes necessary to engage a greater number of employees than would be strictly necessary for the exigencies of the service. At the same time it was decided that employees occupied in clerical work – issuing tickets, freight service, telegraph service, etc. – should be held to a maximum of 8 hours of daily labor, computed in the manner above indicated.

 

 

So far as the arrangement in the stations of the Mediterranean system in concerned it will be sufficient to mention the following only: To determine the number of persons necessary for clerical work, the handling of trains, and the telegraph service (employees, clerks, and assistants), the calculation is based upon the actual labor performed in each station, which, by means of statistical data already referred to, is perfectly well known. In the same manner as in the Adriatic company the units of time necessary for each of the above-mentioned operations were established, the time necessary for supplementary clerical work, etc., being included in the units. When this is done the regular number of employees is established, with the reservation that no matter what number of hours an employee is present in service he cannot have more than 8 hours of actual labor per day. Provision is also made on special occasion for supplementary allowances of time. As regards the employees engaged in the supervision of the handling of merchandise – that is, assistants, depot keepers, etc. – it was impossible to find an absolute basis. The company was therefore forced to adapt itself to local conditions.

 

 

Having in this manner fixed upon the number of laborers and porters sufficient for the needs of the station in times of minimum labor, the station master is allowed to provide for increasing needs by engaging temporary or extra help, which, in case of the absence of regular employees or exceptionally increased labor, may also be used for clerical work, provided that they are not used in the handling of trains and in telegraph service, or intrusted with labor which implies the handling of money or which is such as to put them in direct contact with the public.

 

 

So far as the personnel employed in yard service is concerned, such as yard masters, couplers, switchmen, etc., the arrangement existing before the gain-sharing system was adopted has been retained.

 

 

Comparing the working of the Mediterranean company with those of the Adriatic some little difference will be found, although not detailed above; for instance, while the first does not allow the employment of temporary help for clerical labor save in exceptional cases, the second allows the personnel to be increased by as many temporary helpers as may be desired as well for manual as for clerical work, but this is of very little importance. The system requires, therefore, the establishing of a compensation of a uniform fixed allowance for each operation, on the basis of which there is prepared for the station a monthly balance sheet of the service on the gain- sharing system, and this determines the premiums due the employees participating.

 

 

The balance sheet is compiled as follows: The station places on its credit side the amount (as above calculated) for the operations of handling baggage and freight and for yard labor, and the fixed allowances made for policing the station, night watchmen, etc.

 

 

The debit side consists of the amount for yard labor performed either with a locomotive or otherwise, for the wages of the permanent laborers who are entitled to participate, for all temporary help employed during the month, and for the expenses of the repair of tools. The excess of credits over debits then represents the amount to be divided between the company and the permanent employees.

 

 

The following is the balance sheet of the station of Codogno, in the Adriatic system, for the month of November, 1895, and will serve as an example of the method of determining the amount to be distributed in premiums.

 

 

STATION BALANCE SHEET FOR DETERMINING BASIS OF DISTRIBUTION OF PREMIUMS TO PERMANENT EMPLOYEES FOR CODOGNO, NOVEMBER, 1895

 

 

Items

Number of units

Price per unit

Amount

TO THE CREDIT OF THE STATION
General freight service:
Baggage sent out, received, or in transit

558 pieces

$ 0.019300

$ 10.77

Dogs

6 dogs

.019300

.12

Fast freight sent out, received or in transit

843.811 tons

.087544

73.87

Slow freight sent out or received

1,351.801 tons

.087544

118.35

Transferring goods, general merchandise

3,117 cars

.009650

30.08

Transferring goods, carload lots

60 cars

.009650

.58

Shipping for railroad service sent out, received, or in transit

30.213 tons

.052527

1.59

Loading and unloading long timber on coupled cars

1 car

.193000

.19

Loading and unloading road locomotives for army

55 locomotives

.037900

3.18

Total

238.73

Yard service:
Passenger and freight cars charged to station and freight cars in transit

4,450 cars

.038600

171.77

Fixed allowances and sundry receipts:
Policing of station

19.30

Service of night watch

11.58

Substitute labor on trains (days’ work)

4.03

Premium for regularity in yard service

7.95

Compensation for extra labor

3.01

Compensation for voluntary substitution

5.02

Total

50.89

Grand total

61.39

Expenses:
Yard labor with locomotives

199,5 hours

.579000

115.51

Six partecipating employees, 155 days

60.16

Temporary labor

269 days

.289500

77.87

Total

253.54

Excess of credit over debit

207.85

Grand total

461.39

 

 

The premium which then falls to the share of the permanent employees is 60 per cent of the excess of the credits over the debits after deducting the premium for regularity of service and extra labor. A part of this gain, which varies from 80 to 90 per cent of the 60 per cent, is immediately divided among the participating employees; the remaining portion of the 60 per cent is deposited in the postal savings bank and constitutes a reserve fund with which to cover contingent expenses, as for thefts, goods damaged, etc. At the end of the year the amount of these savings left over, increased by part of the income derived from operations of loading and unloading which the stations undertake for private parties, is divided exclusively among the participating employees.

 

 

A committee of the employees of the station (including at least one of the laborers) is appointed, which manages the reserve fund.

 

 

The two brief statements which follow give, first, the distribution of the surplus among the employees, the company, and the reserve fund, and second, the movement of the reserve fund for the station of Codogno for November, 1895.

 

 

DISTRIBUTION OF SURPLUS TO EMPLOYEES, COMPANY, AND RESERVE FUND FOR STATION OF CODOGNO, NOVEMBER, 1895

 

 

Division of excess of credit over debit

Amount

Excess of credit over debit

$ 207.85

Deduct premium for regularity of service and extra labor

10.96

Remainder to be divided between employees and company

196.89

Part (40 per cent) refunded to company

78.76

Part (60 per cent) apportioned as employees’ share

118.13

Part of employees’ share (10 per cent) placed in reserve fund

11.81

Part of employees’ share (90 per cent) paid immediately to employees

106.32

 

 

Following is a statement of the movement of the reserve fund of the station of Codogno for November, 1895:

 

 

Income from loading and unloading performed at the charge of patrons

 

 

Balance from preceding month $ —
Received during month

Total

To be deducted, paid to employees transferred
Balance

 

 

Retained from the gains which were allotted to the employees who participated in the gain-sharing system

 

 

Remainder from preceding month $ 44.80
Retention of 10 per cent of gains of the month

11.81Retained from employees on account of indebtedness to the railway company—

 

Total

$ 56.61

 

To be deducted: Share paid to employees transferred—Indemnities paid for transfer of employees5.96Rectification of error—

Total

5.96Remainder50.65

 

 

 

The premium, which is determined monthly and which amounted, for instance, in the station of Codogno to 550.88 lire ($ 106.32) in November, 1895, must be divided among the individual employees who participate in the gain-sharing system.

 

 

This division could not be made in equal shares among the whole personnel without committing an injustice to the most capable and most active, neither could it be made in proportion to the regular pay of each individual, because the class of employees which has the smallest pay and which lends the most efficacious aid by its labor to accomplish the savings would suffer most.

 

 

The division, therefore, has been based on two criteria: One which keeps account of the capabilities of all of the employees and establishes various groups based on this record, different quotas being assigned to each of the various groups thus established; the other, which keeps account of the number of days at work. In this manner the yardmen and laborers may have in many cases quotas of premiums assigned to them which are equal to those of higher employees. The difference in premiums among the employees of the same class is always according to the number of days at work. The averages of monthly maximum premiums and of all premiums paid to certain classes of the employees at all stations of the Adriatic system from 1891 to 1895, inclusive, are as follows:

 

 

AVERAGE MONTHLY PREMIUMS PAID IN CERTAIN OCCUPATIONS IN THE ADRIATIC SYSTEM, 1891 TO 1895

 

 

Occupations

Average of maximum monthly premiums

Average of all monthly premiums

Station masters

$ 11.77

$ 7.91

Managers

7.72

5.02

Clerks

5.79

3.86

Gate keepers

3.28

2.12

Yardmen

4.05

2.70

Switchmen

4.05

2.70

Laborers

4.05

2.70

 

 

In order, however, to better explain the workings of the system the method by which the premium of 550.88 lire ($ 106.32) before mentioned was distributed to the employees of the station of Codogno is given as an example.

 

PREMIUMS PAID TO INDIVIDUAL EMPLOYEES AT THE STATION OF CODOGNO, NOVEMBER, 1895

 

 

Employee number

Occupation

Days present |

Premium

Number of shares

Value of one share

Total

1

Station master

31

2.50

$ 5.3654

$ 13.42

2

Station master

31

1.50

5.3654

8.05

3

Manager

31

1.50

5.3654

8.05

4

Clerk

27

1.25

5.3654

5.84

5

Clerk

29

(a)

5.3654

b 3.42

6

Clerk

31

(a)

5.3654

b 3.65

7

Clerk

31

(a)

5.3654

b 3.65

8

Clerk

31

(a)

5.3654

b 3.65

9

Clerk

23

(a)

5.3654

b 2.71

10

Clerk

27

(a)

5.3654

b 3.18

11

Gate Keeper

31

.75

5.3654

4.02

12

Gate Keeper

31

.75

5.3654

4.02

13

Gate Keeper

31

.75

5.3654

4.02

14

Yard master

31

.75

5.3654

4.02

15

Yard man

31

.50

5.3654

2.69

16

Yard man

28

.50

5.3654

2.42

17

Yard man

31

.50

5.3654

2.69

18

Yard man

31

.50

5.3654

2.69

19

Lamp tender

31

.75

5.3654

4.02

20

Laborer

31

.75

5.3654

4.02

21

Laborer

31

.75

5.3654

4.02

22

Laborer

31

.75

5.3654

4.02

23

Laborer

28

.75

5.3654

3.64

24

Laborer

31

.75

5.3654

.39

25

Laborer

31

.75

5.3654

4.02

Total

21.00

106.32

 

 

Employee number

Occupation

Premium for regularity in service

Premium for extra labor

Total

1 Station master $ 13.42
2 Station master $ 0.89 8.94
3 Manager 8.05
4 Clerk 5.84
5 Clerk 3.42
6 Clerk 3.65
7 Clerk  .78 4.43
8 Clerk 3.65
9 Clerk 2.71
10 Clerk 3.18
11 Gate Keeper 4.02
12 Gate Keeper 4.02
13 Gate Keeper 4.02
14 Yard master $ 1.93 5.95
15 Yard man 1.54 .72 4.95
16 Yard man 1.39 3.81
17 Yard man 1.54 4.23
18 Yard man 1.54 .63 4.86
19 Lamp tender 4.02
20 Laborer 4.02
21 Laborer 4.02
22 Laborer 4.02
23 Laborer 3.64
24 Laborer .39
25 Laborer 4.02

Total

7.94 3.02 117.28
(a) Four shares apportioned to clerks collectively.

(b) These figures vary somewhat from those calculated on the basis of the share value as given in the preceding column. They are the equivalents, however, of the original figures given in the Italian report, Atti della R. Commissione d’Inchiesta, Vol. IV, p. 268.

 

 

From this it will be seen that the shares gained by the employees at this station varied from 2.1/2 for station masters to one-half share for yard men; that is, from 69.52 lire ($ 13.42) for one station master to 20.85 lire ($ 4.02) paid to laborers and to 13.90 lire ($ 2.69) paid to yard men, taking into consideration the full month’s work. The amount of premium within any class, it will be seen, is also proportionate to the number of days employed. In some stations the station master may be entitled to as many as 4 shares.

 

 

It will be seen that the number of parts or shares into which the total premium of 550.88 lire ($ 106.32) is divided is 21. The sum which each employee receives is more or less according to the number of shares with which he appears in this division, and the number of shares is in accordance with the importance of his functions.

 

 

This holds good for the Adriatic system.

 

 

In the Mediterranean company, under a similar system, a unit price for each operation is established upon which the allowance are based; all the operations performed, multiplied by the respective unit prices, together with the fixed allowances and sundry other items, constitute the credit side of the account. The debit, as in the Adriatic company, consist of: The total expenses actually incurred for yard service, the amount of the average monthly wages paid the permanent inferior class of employees, the expenses incurred for temporary help, and the expenses incurred for repair of railway tools and sundry other purposes.

 

 

The account, as in the Adriatic company, is settled monthly and the gains – that is to say, the excess of the credit over the debit – are divided in the following proportions: Fifty-four per cent is paid to the employees immediately, 40 per cent goes to the company, and 6 per cent goes to the reserve fund, which is managed very nearly in the same manner as that of the stations of the Adriatic company.

 

 

When it becomes necessary to divide the aggregated gains belonging to the employees as a whole among all those who as individuals form that personnel, the Mediterranean company divides it in the following proportions: Station master, 6 shares in some stations, in others 5 to 4. assistant station master, 3 shares; managers, 3 shares; employees in train service, 2. shares; higher employees and clerks, 2 shares; assistants, 1. shares; yard masters, 2. shares; yard men, 1. shares; depot keepers, 1. shares; laborers, 1 share.

 

 

But the entire personnel, even if not comprised in the above list, may participate in the gains, providing that it has also been employed in part on labors pertaining to the service which comes under the gain-sharing system. So, for example, in the stations in which the switchmen may, according to the station regulations, be used as laborers, the latter may participate in proportion to the labor performed, half a share being usually assigned to each.

 

 

As an example of the practical application of the system of gain sharing in the Mediterranean company, the station of Asti, which was one of the first stations in which the experiment of labor on the gain-sharing system was introducted, may be taken. It must be borne in mind that with different figures, but on the same plan, the variations occur in the other stations.

 

 

SCHEDULE OF CREDITS USED IN DETERMINING BASIS OF DISTRIBUTION OF PREMIUMS TO EMPLOYEES OF STATION OF ASTI

 

 

To the credit of the station

Unit

Amounts allowed per unit

July to December inclusive 1893

1894

Freight handled:
Baggage sent out, received, or in transit Ton

$ 0.063032

$ 0.070035

Dogs Dog

.019300

.019300

Fast freight sent out or received Ton

.063032

.061281

Fast freight transferred in transit Ton

.063032

.064783

Slow freight sent out or received Ton

.049025

.050776

Slow freight transferred in transit, general merchandise or carload lots Ton

.052527

.056028

Shipping for railroad service Fast freight sent out, received, or transferred in transit Ton

.052527

.070035

Slow freight sent out, received, or transferred in transit Ton

.052527

.070035

Disinfecting cars Car

.069480

.069480

Yard service:
Passenger cars charged to station or in transit Car

.038600

.067550

Freight cars charged to station or in transit Car

.057900

.077200

Freight cars freighted to workshop having special tracks Car

.096500

Locomotives turned Fixed allowances for sundry services:
Policing station Month

10.422000

12.738000

Watching of station Month

11.580000

172.349000

Lighting Month

3.860000

25.476000

Switching Month

21.230000

152.856000

General station expenses Month

21.230000

Substitute labor on trains (a)
Absence of personnel (a)
Services pertaining to management, supervision, and handling of freight Month
Fixed allowance for substitute yard labor Month

134.887700

Fixed allowance for receiving and consigning trains and for handling cars Month
Fixed allowance for copying bills of lading Month
Services of foot warmers Month

6.948000

 

 

 

To the credit of the station

Unit

Amounts allowed per unit

January 1895, to January, 1896, inclusive

1894

Freight handled Baggage sent out, received, or in transit Ton

$ 0.052527

$ 0.063032

Dogs Dog

.019300

.019300

Fast freight sent out or received Ton

.043772

.040270

Fast freight transferred in transit Ton

.043772

.040270

Slow freight sent out or received Ton

.031516

.035018

Slow freight transferred in transit, general merchandise or carload lots Ton

.013772

.040270

Shipping for railroad service Fast freight sent out,received, or transferred in transit Ton

.035018

.035018

Slow freight sent out,received, or transferred in transit Ton

.035018

.035018

Disinfecting cars Car

.077200

.096500

Yard service:
Passenger cars charged to station or in transit Car

.067550

.048250

Freight cars charged to station or in transit Car

.067550

.048250

Freight cars freighted to workshop having special tracks Car

Locomotives turned Fixed allowances for sundry services:
Policing station Month

12.738000

32.231000

Watching of station Month

158.067000

138.767000

Lighting Month

25.476000

25.476000

Switching Month

178.332000

178.332000

General station expenses Month

38.021000

58.479000

Substitute labor on trains (a) Absence of personnel (a) Services pertaining to management, supervision, and handling of freight Month

135.872000

b 140.890000

Fixed allowance for substitute yard labor Month

173.700000

318.836000

Fixed allowance for receiving and consigning trains and for handling cars Month

14.475000

Fixed allowance for copying bills of lading Month

12.738000

Services of foot warmers Month

8.974500

(a) Occasional (b) in October, 1896, the amount was increased to $ 166.752

 

 

In the station of Asti, during the month of October, 1895, the expenses incurred were greater than the credits allowed. The exact details of the settlement in the gain sharing of this station for the month of October 1895, in which the account closed with a deficit of 415.61 lire ($ 80.21), were as follows:

 

 

TO THE CREDIT OF THE STATION

 

 

8,749 cars handled (at 6.755 cents per car)

$ 590.99

Handling freight, baggage, disinfesting cars, etc.

325.42

Policing station

12.74

Gate keeping

158.07

Lighting

25.48

Switching

178.33

General station expenses

38.02

Help of extra employees on trains – Absence of personnel

63.37

Services pertaining to the handling, supervision, and manipulation of freight

135.87

Fixed allowance for yard service

173.70

Total credit

1,701.99

 

 

TO THE DEBIT OF THE STATION

 

 

1,164.3/4 hours of yard service with locomotive (at 57.9 cents per hour)

$ 674.39

Regular inferior class of employees

825.46

Temporary labor (478. days)

167.34

Employees sent or transferred to Asti for extra service

96.75

Employees residing in Asti employed as substitutes to replace regular but absent employees

18.26

Total debit

1,782.20

Excess of debit over credit

80.21

 

 

During the month covered the average cost per car handled was 0.54 lira (10.422 cents), while the unit allowance per car handled, 0.35 lira (6.755 cents), plus the supplementary fixed allowance of 900 lire ($ 173.70) for yard service apportioned to the 8,749 cars actually handled, equal to 0.103 lira (1.9879 cents) per car, makes a total allowance per car of 0.453 lira (8.7429 cents), that is, an allowance of 0.087 lira (1.6791 cents), less than the actual cost.

 

 

A similar result is found in the month of October during the preceding year (1894), in which the account was as follows:

 

 

TO THE CREDIT OF THE STATION

 

 

Car handled on basis of unit of price

$ 546.56

Handling freight on the basis of unit of price

458.46

Various allowances (including fixed allowance for yard service)

585.14

Total credit

1,584.16

 

 

TO THE DEBIT OF THE STATION

 

 

Hours of yard service with locomotive

$ 542.28

Regular inferior class of employees

822.28

Temporary labor

166.56

Employees sent from other stations and transferred to Asti for extra service

79.62

Repair of railroad tools

2.70

Corrections in the preceding account

2.12

Total debit

1,615.56

Excess of debit over credit

31.40

 

 

The average cost per car handled during the month covered by this account amounts to 0.55 lira (10.615 cents), while the unit allowance per car handled was 0.35, 0.40, or 0.50 lira (6.755, 7.72, or 9.65 cents) according as it included passenger cars, freight cars charged to the station, or cars belonging to private parties, an average of 0.383 lira (7.3919 cents) per car; or in detail 0.35 lira (6.755 cents) per car for 2,589 passenger cars, 0.40 lira (7.72 cents) per car for 4,628 freight cars charged to the station, and 0.50 lira (9.65 cents) per car for 87 cars belonging to private parties, the total number of cars being 7,304.

 

 

In addition to this there was the fixed allowance for yard service of 698.90 lire ($ 134.89) for handling cars, which, on the basis of 7,304 cars actually handled, was equal to a price per car of 0.096 lira (1.8528 cents), showing total allowance per car of 0.479 lira (9.2447 cents), or 0.071 lira (1.3703 cents) per car less than the actual cost of the labor.

 

 

In the month of October, 1896, however, the account closed in favor of the credit side, as will be seen from the following items:

 

 

TO THE CREDIT OF THE STATION

 

 

Cars handled on the basis of the unit price of 4.825 cents

$ 420.31

Handling freight on the basis of the unit price of 4.825 cents

255.64

Various allowances (including fixed allowance for yard service of $ 318.84)

974.27

Total credit

1,650.22

 

 

TO THE DEBIT OF THE STATION

 

 

Hours of yard service with locomotive

$ 476.90

Regular inferior class of employees

844.37

Temporary labor

184.82

Employees sent from other stations and transferred to Asti for extra service

86.05

Employees residing in Asti employed as substitutes for others

23.45

Total debit

1,615.59

Excess of credit over debit

34.63

 

 

During this month the average cost per car handled was 0.40 lira (7.72 cents), while the corresponding unit allowance per car handled was 0.25 lira (4.825 cents), besides the fixed allowance for yard service of 1,652 lire ($ 318.84), which, on the basis of 8,711 cars handled, equals a price per car of 0.19 lira (3.667 cents); that is to say, there was a total of 0.44 lira (8.492 cents), showing an earning of 0.04 lira (0.772 cant) per car.

 

 

The reason why a loss instead of a gain resulted in many cases from the adoption of the system is seen in the history of Asti. In the year 1894 the allowance for yard labor was only 698.90 lire ($ 134.89) and the loss was $ 31.40; in 1895 the allowance for yard labor was raised to 900 lire ($ 173.70) and the loss was $ 80.21; in 1986 the allowance for yard labor was again raised to 1,652 lire ($ 318.84) and the excess of credit over debit, or the gain, was $ 34.63.

 

 

The fault has been not in the gain-sharing system, but in the way it has been applied. The company established a basis of fixed allowances so low that the expenses incurred were greater than the allowances credited. To produce a gain instead of the loss the company increased, in 1896, the allowance to $ 318.84. In most stations the experience in the first years of the system has been the same. As the losses are not chargeable to any negligence on the part of the employees, but to defects in the working out of the system, the company has been obliged to remit the share of the losses chargeable to the employees. The per cent of the losses remitted of the premiums paid to employees is as follows in the Adriatic system: In the year 1892, 60 per cent; 12.96 per cent. in 1893; 2.05 per cent in 1894; 0.93 per cent in 1895, and 2.22 per cent in 1896. From this it appears that while the losses remitted were high in proportion to the premiums paid in the first years of the working of the system, they are now but a mere trifle. The bases of the gain-sharing system have been in each station revised so as to substitute gains for losses.

 

 

It now becomes proper to judge the system of gain sharing in the stations, in order to see whether this system is of such a nature that it can be recommended for imitation to other countries as adequate to conciliate the interests of the laboring men and those of the companies operating the railways.

 

 

At first sight it would seem that a system which incites the laborer to greater exertion and to the utilization of all his time with the hope of the stations effected thereby should be recognized by all as a system able to accomplish the double purpose (1) of benefiting the employees by increasing their pay and (2) of reducing the cost of operation.

 

 

In reality, however, the compliants of the workingmen themselves, of the chambers of commerce, of the communes, of the public, and of the governmental inspectors against the system are great and numerous. It is necessary, however, to examine and judge the system, both in detail and as a whole and in regard to its effects, in order to discover the causes underlying the widely divergent views.

 

 

First of all, the preliminary question must be solved, whether the gain-sharing system is applicable to the station service and whether it is not incompatible with the benefits to which the public is entitled. In this connection it may be observed that the gain-sharing system is considered by many as not applicable to the station service, because such service is too complex, mixed, and variable, and too closely connected with the public safety.

 

 

Abuse of the task system, whether by not allowing a sufficient remuneration or by exacting too much labor to permit good works, can not occasion any damage, because the system is applied exclusively to functions of a special character (like the consumption of fuel, the performance of ordinary labor, etc.). But abuse of the gain-sharing system might compromise the regularity and safety of the service, because it is applied at the station where the labor is composed of many variable and indeterminable functions, all of which affect the regularity and safety of the service. The gain-sharing system interposed between the employee and the service to be performed causes the employee to lose sight of the important and only end which he should ever look to and submit to, and that is the regularity and the safety of the service.

 

 

The operating companies establish the basis of the gain-sharing system in such a manner as to reduce the number of regular employees as much as possible. The station masters, who direct the management of the gain-sharing system, are interested in increasing the profit allotted to themselves, either by not performing any or by not engaging any or only a few temporary employees, and this for the reason that both classes of expenditures weight heavily on the debit side of the account of the station, diminishing the benefits to be divided. Is it not to be feared that this scheme of management will lead to impairing the regularity and the safety of the service?

 

 

Considering the question thus expressed, it seems necessary to conclude that the safety of the service and the lives of travelers should not be placed in danger by maintaining a system which induces the station master to exaggerate the savings in the expenses which are necessary for the good working of the railway service. One workingman, being interrogated by the commission of inquiry, summed up in the following sharp and effective manner his opinion of the gain-sharing system: «In the gain-sharing system the lion’s share falls to the company, the cub’s share to the station master, the crumbs from the table to the employees, and the annoyance to the public».

 

 

But before pronouncing such a severe condemnation it is necessary to examine carefully the system of gain sharing in all its details in order to see if it is really of such a nature as to endanger the regularity and the safety of the service. The plan of operation of the system provides, as has been said already, for the substitution of temporary laborers (taken on from time to time, according to the needs of the service) for a part of the regular employees paid by the month or by the year, and for allowing to the station masters a freer hand in the distribution of the duties of the service. By using temporary employees the companies gain the advantage of having a laboring personnel proportionate to the traffic, which is continually changing, and of paying the according to the price of labor in the particular locality. This effects a saving as compared with the system of regular employees only, who must have uniform wages throughout the whole country.

 

 

This appears certainly to be an undeniable advantage, but, on the other hand, disadvantages are not lacking upon close examination. Some say that the temporary workers, not having any career to look forward to, are poor workmen; others say, on the contrary, that being liable to be discharged at any moment they work all the more zealously. Some see a danger of more thefts because the station masters, being interested in the saving of expenses for wages, do not make careful selections; others are of the contrary opinion and say that for the above-mentioned reasons the temporary employees are at the mercy of the administration, and as the thefts and the pilfering would weigh heavily on the debit side of the station account the workmen are greatly interested in watching one another; to which the defenders of the permanent-employee system answer that when, in a station working on the gain-sharing system, there is much labor to perform no time is left the employees for watching one another.

 

 

The best system to pursue would be, following the plan which the companies have adopted, to compromise between the two elements, so that the number of regular employees would, in fact, be commensurate with the ordinary traffic, and to call in temporary help only in case of an extraordinary amount of business. This principle, which is already embodied in the general plan, should be worked out in practice so as to prevent any abuse by the station masters. In this manner the necessary elasticity could be obtained, and the danger would be avoided of having the station master, in order to economize greatly, select incompetent persons who offer their services at a small price. The most important point in the system, then, would be to determine a practical method of establishing the regular working force. This force should be neither excessive nor too small, but in regard to number and distribution the employees should be adequate for the work to be performed. In order to determine whether the number of the employees is sufficient, it would be necessary to value the labor performed by them according to certain criteria, which should be sufficiently liberal to meet all emergencies which might occur if a more important labor than the ordinary were required. Instead of this, the time allowances for the various operations are (1) incomplete, because they do not contain all the operations to be performed by the employees, and (2) they are erroneous, because they are so restricted that in some stations, for certain operations, they would not be sufficient for the very best employee to perform the task. The necessary consequence, therefore, is an insufficient number of employees, and through this an overburdening of labor. At Terni 95 hours were allowed the employees for labor, while 166 hours were actualyy required for its performance. The total hours of labor which theoretically should be sufficient to perform all the labor of the stations is divided by 8, which represents the daily hours of labor for each employee, the quotient, therefore, giving the number of the employees which on this basis should be connected with the station. If there is a remainder in the division and this remainder is in the neighborhood of 4, an employee, called a half-timer, is engaged, who may be employed during one-half of the month in a station without acquiring thereby any right to participate in the gains. But here seems to be an absurdity when it is said that in one station in which the work should be expedited from day to day, perhaps even from hour to hour, for 15 days it could be performed by only 3 employees and for the next 15 days there must be 4 employees for the same labor without changing in any way their individual compensation.

 

 

Just as the system of gain sharing is imperfect as applied in determining the number of the employees, so is it also imperfect when applied to the accounts keep at the stations. The monthly accounts which are made up in the stations working on the gain-sharing system have been explained, and the accounts of the stations of Codogno (Adriatic company) and of Asti (Mediterranean company) have been given as example. In order to see how imperfect the system of account is, it will be sufficient to state that the accounts of the station of Asti showed losses. In cases where the company has not made good the loss the employees who have labored in excess of ordinary work, they have, instead of receiving a premium, been obliged to submit to a diminution of their pay.

 

 

To demonstrate how erroneous are the bases of the accounts of the stations, it will be sufficient to state that the stations receive premiums on the basis of quintals of freightt handled, but it happens that during the Christmas and Easter holidays the number of packages increases enormously, and sometimes is such that the employees performing the clerical work, although working indefatigably, are not sufficient and must be reenforced by temporary employees. But as these shippings consist of small packages their weight is inconsiderable, and it takes 15 to 20 shippings to be able to gain from 0.08 to 0.10 lira (1.544 to 1.93 cents). It is evident that the increase of the traffic and labor cause, in this case, a diminution of gain to the employees.

 

 

So, also, are the accounts of yard service defective. As this service represent an expenses for fuel, an entry of 3 lire (57.9 cents) for each operation is made on the debit side of the account of the station. The companies started with the idea that the more the locomotive yard operations cost the less that kind of labor should be resorted to – a principle which, at first sight, appears to be very reasonable, but which in practice has two defects. The first defect is, that with the diminution of that kind of yard service, the regularity of the service is diminished as far as the goods and careful utilization of the rolling stock is concerned, the prompt forwarding of freight, the proper making up of trains, etc., and that not a day passes without the occurrence of some irregularities, due principally to the highly exaggerated economies in the yard service. The second defect consists in executing this class of yard work without keeping strict account of the same on the books. The locomotive engineers while performing this kind of yard works lose on an average 0.40 lira (7.72 cents) of their regular pay for each hour so employed, and it is therefore to their advantage not to have a strict account kept of the work. Concerning the coal used, the locomotive engineer covers this loss with irregularities in his duties, which are sometimes dangerous, such as letting the trains go down grade with great velocity,, etc.

 

 

Another pernicious practice is the changing of the bases by which the unit prices of labor credited to the station are changed whenever the premiums earned by the employees seen for some months to be too high. These changes of the bases constitute the most demoralizing part of the gain-sharing system, because they create a certain distrust on the part of the employees. Besides this, these changes, being always a consequence of a material increase of the premiums, occur only in stations in which the employees tend, by greater intensity of labor, to augment the premiums beyond the average limit which the company has allotted to the employees. These changes do not occur in places where the employees, fearing a change of the basis, content themselves with the gains allotted to them and do not attempt to increase their earnings to any material extent. This result is to be expected when we bear in mind the fact that the changes are really failures on the part of the company to keep its promises.

 

 

Nearly all of the governmental railway inspectors agree in saying that the unit prices on which the station accounts are based have not been established on a principle which would make it possible to obtain a well-established sum to be gained by the employees. This is so true that when bases established to not lead to the end desired by the company they are promptly changed, naturally to the benefit of the company and to the injury of the employees. The Codogno account is typical for the stations on the Adriatic system, but sometimes it happens in some of the stations that the fixed allowances, owing to various causes, such as an increase or a decrease in the traffic, are excessive or not sufficient and may lead to a great gain or loss for the employees. The company is continually trying to eliminate the very great gains by diminishing the bases of the fixed allowances and this practice has led to the charge that the Adriatic company goes on continually reducing the prices formerly established so as to eliminate the possibility of any gain whatever.

 

 

The compliants are yet more marked when reference is made to the division of the gains, for nothing is more irritating than to see unequal reward for equal labor. The division of the gains between the Adriatic company and its employees may be examinate. In the depositions and written answers of several Government inspectors and of a high functionary of the Adriatic company it has been claimed that the bases of the station accounts have been fixed so as to give to the employees a premium of only 24 per cent of the savings effected by the employees instead of 60 per cent as apparently called for according to the professed plan. It was claimed furthermore that this 24 per cent was the maximum figure of the gain which the company intended to leave to the employees, the proportion ranging from 15 to 24 per cent.

 

 

The following table shows the actual financial results of the service on the gain-sharing system for the Adriatic company from the introduction to December 31, 1897:

 

 

RESULTS OF THE GAIN-SHARING SYSTEM FROM ITS BEGINNING TO DECEMBER 31, 1897 – ADRIATIC COMPANY

 

 

Year

Expenses incurred in period immediately preceding adoption of gain-sharing system

 

Expenses incurred after adoption of gain-sharing system for

 

Permanent employees

Temporary employees

Employees’ share of gain (a)

Total

1891-2

$ 54,603

$ 38,063

$ 2,726

$ 2,973

$ 43,762

1893

271,818

185,768

14,660

21,512

221,940

1894

745,240

517,830

43,719

59,659

621,208

1895

948,487

643,964

57,724

82,743

784,431

1896

1,365,307

969,837

92,891

114,621

1,177,349

1897

1,581,042

1,147,662

130,527

139,177

1,417,366

(a) Sixty per cent of the gain established by the company according to the principals of the gain-sharing system

 

 

Year

Actual savings to company after adoption of gain-sharing

Total savings of company and employees

 

Per cent of total savings received by

 

Company

Employees

1891-2

$ 10,841

$ 13,814

78.48

21.52

1893

49,878

71,390

69.87

30.13

1894

124,032

183,691

67.52

32.48

1895

9164,05

246,799

66.47

33.53

1896

187,958

302,579

62.12

37.88

1897

163,676

302,853

54.04

45.96

 

 

Year

 

Per cent of savings of salaries or wages of

 

Administrative employees

Operating employees

1891-2

13

17

1893

18

19

1894

16

18

1895

16

18

1896

16

18

1897

16

17.5

 

 

From the data given above, which were derived directly from the administration of the Adriatic company, it will be seen that the employees’ share of the actual gain, although more than 24 per cent for each year since 1892, in no case reaches 60 per cent, and at first sight this fact can not be understood. The account is liable to be confused with the account of Codogno, where the employees apparently received 60 per cent. It must be remembered, however, that the Codogno account shows the savings as calculated by the company under the gain-sharing system, and that these savings, because of the small allowances credited by the company, are in every case less than the actual savings.

 

 

On the other hand, the present table shows the actual savings effected by the Adriatic company in the stations adopting the gain-sharing system. To find the actual savings, as will be seen by reference to the table, the expenses in the stations which have adopted the gain-sharing system are subtracted from the actual expenses in the same stations for the period (not stated: probably 1890) immediately preceding the adoption of the system. As the company credits much smaller amounts to the station than were actually expended before the gain-sharing system was adopted, it is easily seen how an apparent gain of 60 per cent really represents a much smaller proportion of actual savings.

 

 

Thus, in 1891-92 in the stations which had adopted the system, the company incurred as expenses of 197,217.30 lire ($ 38,062.94) for permanent employees, 14,126.20 lire ($ 2,726.36) for temporary employees, and 15,403.83 lire ($ 2,972.94) for the employees’ share of the gain, which was calculated at 60 per cent of the savings according to the credits allowed by the company, making a total expenses of 226,747.33 lire ($ 43,762.24). This total subtracted from 282,918.69 lire ($ 54,603.31), the expense actually incurred in the same stations in the period immediately preceding the adoption of the gain-sharing system, shows an actual saving to the company of 56,171.36 lire ($ 10,841.07). This amount, combined with the employees’ share of the gain, gives a total gain to company and employees of 71,575.19 lire ($ 13,814.01), 78.48 per cent of which went to the company and only 21.52 per cent to the employees.

 

 

In 1893 the gain-sharing system was introducted into more stations, and the total expenses for all the stations that had adopted the system was 1,149,948.79 lire ($ 221,940.12). The actual expense in the same stations for the period immediately preceding the adoption of the system was 1,408,385.62 lire ($ 271,818.43), and the actual saving to the company 258,436.83 lire ($ 49,878.31). This, added to 111,462.34 lire ($ 21,512.23), the employees’ share of gain, gave a total gain to company and employees of 369,899.17 lire ($ 71,390.54), of which 69.87 per cent went to the company and 30.13 per cent to the employees.

 

 

By the same method it is shown that the employees received but 32.48 per cent of actual savings in 1894, 33.53 per cent in 1895, 37.88 per cent in 1896, and 45.96 per cent in 1897, though each of these per cents represented an amount which was just 60 per cent of the savings calculated according to the credits allowed by the company.

 

 

Notwithstanding the advance which has been observed in the last year (1897), the gains turned over to the employees, while apparently large, have not been in proportion to the increased labor and to the part which has gone to the benefit of the company’s account.

 

 

Nor do equal conditions of labor conform to equal premiums. They do not even approach equality. It is well known that the initial premium depended in a great measure upon the conditions of the station at that period of time which immediately preceded the establishment of the gain-sharing system and which served as a basis for computations and comparisons on which the organic force of the station was determined. From this follows the very strange consequence that those who formerly labored under conditions of maximum economy received small premiums, while those who formerly incurred higher expenses participated in larger premiums.

 

 

As an example, it may be stated that in the year 1893, in Ferrara, the daily labor, which consisted of 4 hours and 30 minutes for each employee and the handling of freight on the part of labores of 59 quintals (13,007 pounds), brought a premium of 20 lire ($ 3.86), while at Lucca, with a more extended labor (5 hours and 23 minutes) and a handling of freight amounting to 93 quintals (20,503 pounds), the premium was markedly less, being 12 lire ($ 2.32). And in the year 1896, in the station of Ancona, a labor of 4 hours and 52 minutes and the handling of 58 quintals (12,787 pounds) resulted in a premium of 23 lire ($ 4.44), while in the station of Mantua, however, both the labor (6 hours and 53 minutes) and the handling of freight, amounting to 71 quintals (15,653 pounds), were greater, but the premium, 18 lire ($ 3.47), was less. These comparisons could be multiplied indefinitely, and it must be concluded that differences, more or less conspicuous, more or less justified, exist in a great number of stations.

 

 

And now, touching the distribution of the gains among the individual employees, the commission of inquiry has in its report made a some-what sharp criticism of the system, based upon the grievances of the employees, which it seems well to reproduce, although all the objections to the system do not seem equally well founded. Following is this criticism:

 

 

The station masters’ share of the gain must be regarded as excessive. The shares falling to the other administrative employees, however, can not be said to be excessive; in fact, if the account of the station of Codogno in the Adriatic system be taken as an example, it will be found that 6 clerks received altogether 4 shares, or  for each one, while each laborer was credited with  of a share.

 

 

And here, keeping always the station of Codogno as an example, as this station has been held up as the model for the Adriatic company, and without doubt it is the one which presents the least defects, a query arises which bears upon the whole system of dividing the gains. The credit side of the account of a station is, with the exception of small fixed and sundry other allowances, based on certain unit prices of the weight of freight, handled and to the number of wagons and cars handled in the yard service; that is, on the work of the inferior laboring class. The administrative employees, from the station master down to the clerk, being charged with the work of direction and supervision, contribute only in an indirect way the work of direction and supervision, contribute only in an indirect way toward the gain. Why then should the reward for the workingman’s increased labor be taken from him to create gains for persons who have not directly cooperated?

 

 

In the station of Codogno the shares of gain – in all 21 – are divided as follows: To the laboring personnel (15 persons), which through its labor creates the gain, go 10.1/4 shares; to the directing and supervising personnel (10 persons), which contributes only indirectly to the gain, 10. shares are allowed. This division does not seem equitable. But even if the shares allotted to the directing and supervising employees were not excessive, it can not be understood why the rewards given to the administrative employees (which may be considered as being nearly outside the pale of the gain-sharing system) should be taken from the fruits of the labor of the inferior employees.

 

 

It would seem more just to throw the weight of this premium for the directing personnel on the marked gain which the company derives from the system of gain sharing. It might be answered that this is really not more than a question of form, because the company, in order to retain its gains undiminished, would simply have to change the proportion of the gains allotted to itself and the employees. In that case, however, the apparent 60 per cent which it pretended was given through a paternal generosity of the company to the employees would disappear.

 

 

The governmental railway inspectors recognize the fact that the share of profits of the directing employees is too high, especially that of the station master, so long as this gain is derived from a profit made to a great extent by the more intense labor of the inferior employees; and they think that a mistake has been made in the allotment of the proportional premiums by giving more on account of rank than on account of the labor performed, although they acknowledge that it is just that the station master should have a greater share, as it is upon his effort, like that of any other industrial chief, that depends the perfect quality of the system. Other complaints are made on account of the disparity in the treatment of equal classes of the employees between one station and another, there being, for example, station masters who earn a premium of 113.51 lire ($ 21.91) per month, while others only make a surplus gain of 1.60 lire (31 cents).

 

 

The opinions expressed by some chambers of commerce are not at variance with the above. They contend that the gains go in great part to the company, and that those gains which are allotted to the employees are adjudged to be inadequate or even ridiculous when compared with the sacrifices which the increased labor imposes upon the latter. More severe still are the criticisms on account of the division among the individual participating employees, either because equity has been disregarded in deciding upon the share of the station master and others or because the allowance or profit to the lower employees is too small and ephemeral. He who labors least earns most, and this principle is certainly not such as to induce the retention of the gain-sharing system, which should be above all a premium on labor. If the gain-sharing system has not proved very satisfactory to the workingmen at the stations, it can be said that it results in large savings to the railway companies. For example, the Adriatic company had calculated that the savings in the year 1895 would amount to 1,100,000 lire ($ 212,300), and later to 2,000,000 lire ($ 386,000). The savings actually made however, were somewhat lower than predicted, but notwithstanding this they were very considerable. This can be seen from a table which has appeared on a preceding page, and from which is reproduced the following savings of the company:

 

 

1891-92

56,171.36 lire ($ 10,841.07)

1893

258,436.83 lire ($ 49,878.31)

1894

642,654.27 lire ($ 124,032.27)

1895

850,033.30 lire ($ 164,056.43)

1896

973,877.87 lire ($ 187,958.43)

1897

848,064.12 lire ($ 163,676.38)

Total

3,629,237.75 lire ($ 700,442.89)

 

 

Other criticisms of the gain-sharing system in stations have appeared from time to time, among these being those made by Mr. Kossuth, son of the celebrated Hungarian patriot, and manager of the second division of the Mediterranean system. Following are the defects mentioned by Kossuth (This statement by Mr. Kossuth was written on June 20, 1893, and at that time the gain-sharing system had not been introducted in the second division of the Mediterranean company):

 

 

It must be borne in mind that the principle of authority would in the course of time receive a more or less severe blow from the introduction of a system which to a great extent is pervaded by socialistic principles, to such as extent that it approaches a programme of gain sharing between the company, the Government, and the employees – an idea which in Italy has been announced by several socialistic and democratic deputies.

 

 

It is clear that the original organization of the station employees would have to be fixed on the basis of hours of labor required for the operations. After the introduction of the system, however, any acts of superiors which would aim at the settling upon new units of compensation would cause remonstrance from the interested employees, who would claim that these acts changed the conditions of labor and therefore the results of the gain sharing.

 

 

To-day (1893) such action on the part of the superiors could neither be criticised nor opposed by the employees without such criticism or opposition assuming the character of a lack of discipline; while after putting the system in force the remonstrances would acquire a character eminently just and legal, becoming nothing else than a remonstrance of an interested partner against damages sustained through the actions of the other partner.

 

 

Nor would it be of any value to try to circumvent this inconvenience by asserting that the company should maintain intact its authority and the rigor of all its regulations, because these could then be interpreted not only by the superiors, but also by the tribunals.

 

 

There would be delays, remonstrance, and discussions on the occasions of transfers, because no matter how carefully the number of necessary employees in each individual station may be estimated, it would nevertheless be evidently impossible, in such a complex system of operations, to make the estimates sufficiently exact to insure equal gains in all the stations. Attempts would be made, however, from time to time to transfer an individual, but he would never fail to maintain that in the station to which he was transferred his part of the gain sharing would be less than it was in the station which he left. He would maintain this notwithstanding that there may be neither reason nor proof of his claim, foreign the company either to prove to him the falsity of his assertion, thus lowering itself to an action which is incompatible with its discipline, or to compel him by the exercise of authority to submit to the transfer, thereby giving rise to arguments and complaints against the alleged injustice of a provision which in itself is perfectly legal.

 

 

It is evident that the employees would not be able to obtain their profits in the gain-sharing system without performing labor, the length and the intensity of which would be much greater than what is required of them to-day. In the beginning every one would submit voluntarily in view of the marked economic advantages which he would derive, but in the course of time, as the employees became accustomed to receiving a certain sum every month as a benefit from the gain sharing, they would come to consider this benefit as a kind of acquired right, as one would say, to increased wages. The day would come in which the individuals would feel the weight of the longer and increased labor, and at this period they would begin, on occasions of punishment for faulty performance of their proper duties, and on occasion of railway disasters, to complain that they were forced to labor during too many hours, and were therefore so exhausted as to consider themselves released from their responsibilities. Then would arise a tendency to reduce the labor to that point which exist to-day, keeping intact, however, the total reward which should result from the sum of the wages and of the gain sharing. It would then be necessary to increase the number of employees without being able to diminish the wages. Little by little a kind of equilibrium between the number of employees and their earnings would be established, so that the gain sharing would not be a reward for extraordinary labor but only a simple individual increase of wages. A phenomenon nearly analogous manifested itself when the system was introducted of giving to the locomotive engineers a premium for economy in the use of fuel. In the beginning the savings realized were considerable, and originated in the zeal and intelligence of the employees. To-day things have already changed. There is no doubt that the locomotive engineers could perform their services with considerably less fuel than they actually use. When, however, they find from time to time for a few consecutive months that the average premium for economy does not reach the accustomed amount, they are careful to be more saving in the quantity of coal allowed them; this is true of the great majority of engineers, there being a few laudable exceptions. They care very little about economy and consider the premium merely as a supplementary reward acquired by right. Notwithstanding all this, nobody could ever propose the abolition of the system of premiums because it would immediately result in careless and even malicious waste. Something analogous would manifest itself also in the system of gain sharing, but then there would be no possibility of suppressing the system without provoking the most dangerous state of discontent.

 

 

It is certain, therefore, that the gain-sharing system, which would seem to be, theoretically, a perfect system, one that would lead up to the hope that it would help to reestablish harmony between the company and the railway employees, has grave defects which derived their origin, above all, from the faulty application which has been made of the just principles which grant participation in the savings resulting from the increased industry of the laborers.

 

 

It is believed that the best system of the remuneration for labor, the organization, the good sides, and the defects of the gain-sharing system have been shown.

 

 

It seems proper to refer, also, to the suggestions for a reform of the system which a most eminent railway engineer has made – a reform which would aim at rendering the system not only just in theory but also equitable and more profitable in practice, both to the company and to the employees. The suggestions are as follows:

 

 

The gain-sharing system should start from a healthy and just principle, and while it should work toward the end of greater economy for the administration it should not carry this too far. The basis of the gain-sharing system should be the effective labor performed by the employees at the station.

 

 

For this purpose the labor of the station should be divided into two great classes – manual labor and the work of management and administration. The first should have nothing to do with the second, because the laboring employees never undertake the work of the administrative branches, and the administrative employees in the discharge of their duties do not expect help from the laboring employees. For each class there should be established a standard of effective labor, subdivided into two great parts, one fixed and the other variable. The first part should be composed of the fixed labor of each single class of employees, as, for example, supervision of stations, the labor of yard service with regard the ordinary trains, the closing of accounts, made out daily, every ten days, two weeks, or monthly, correspondence, etc.; the second, or variable part, should be the labor which bears, for instance, on the passage of a special train, the finishing of a shipment, the detaching of a ticket, the arrival of a freight train, the transit of a car, etc.

 

 

In computing this labor afterwards an account should be kept of all, not only of that limited labor which occurs for each single operation, but also of the increase of labor which this occasion by reflex action in all the bookkeeping work of the station. When the labor of the administrative and managing personnel is separated from that of the manual employees there would not be any connivance between the two classes, which is the origin of so many small irregularities, while it would have for both the tendency toward a uniform purpose – that is, the argumentation of individual labor in order to increase the premium; labor which resolves itself into an increase of traffic and therefore of receipts, of an economy of personnel, and therefore of savings of wages for the administration.

 

 

In this manner a maximum of ordinary labor compensated by regular pay could be established, and then would admit of a proportional compensation for all that labor done in addition, a compensation which would constitute the premium of the service on the gain-sharing system. Starting from such premises the service in the gain-sharing system could in time be adopted in any station whatever, but would become operative only in those in which the personnel would be so reduced as to have really to perform an extraordinary amount of labor.

 

 

Having fixed a limit of ordinary labor, the employees who are not in favor of gain sharing could find employment in those stations in which the limit is not established. By the application of this principle the disparity which can now be observed between the employees of the different stations in regard to the amount of labor and the relative remuneration would quickly disappear. The employees who would be attracted by a higher remuneration would offer themselves voluntarily to submit to increased labor in order to complete the work of those who would be absent, and the task system would thus lose the obligatory character which it now possesses. The services of those entitled to participate in the reserve fund would immediately be greatly improved, because in the accounts of the employees of the administrative and managing force would be entered as liabilities the errors occurring in bookkeeping, and the accounts of the laboring employees would be charged with the liabilities resulting from the handling of goods. Among the individuals of the two classes there would be reciprocal and easy control. The control under such a system would be of the simplest kind, for the reason that the fixed labor would not need it, and variable labor would be easily controlled by the entries in the books of the number of freight shippings, arrivals, etc.

 

 

The gain-sharing system is, in its first stages of development, full of promises and hopes, and also full of defects. It is still in its first experiences, and it must be studied with consideration and care and be continually modified in order to gradually approach that grade of perfection which can fit it for adoption in all the railway operations.

 

 

LABOR ORGANIZATIONS

 

The data which were obtainable regarding labor organizations among the railway employees are meager, principally on account of the fact that these organizations, being always at variance with the Government, have never given any information which might damage their cause.

 

 

The first societies which were established were the mutual-aid society of locomotive engineers and firemen of the railway system of upper Italy, established in 1877 at Milan, and the mutual-aid society among the locomotive engineers and firemen of the railways of the southern system, established in Ancona in 1883. When the Government turned over the railways to private companies, the two societies were combined into one in the year 1885, with a central seat at Milan. These societies were created for the purpose of mutual assistance.

 

 

In the year 1890, through the initiative of members of both societies who claimed that the mutual assistance was not sufficient to ameliorate the condition of the employees, the savings association among the employees of the railways of the Mediterranean company was founded. This association, with its main office at Milan, purposed to purchase with the savings of the members shares in the Mediterranean company. By this course the society became a shareholder of the company operating the railways, and could thereby take part in the discussion at the meetings to defend the rights of the employees and to suggest improvements in their condition; but as the society possessed but few shares, its influence in the shareholders’ meeting of the Mediterranean company was a limited one.

 

 

The employees then decided to recur to other means for defending their interests, and so was created in Genoa in the year 1890 the Fascio Ferroviario (Railway Labor Union). Its purpose was to accumulate sufficient funds to enable the employees to go into litigation with the railway companies in all cases in which they could complain of abuses or of promotions denied. As a result a series of trials came before the courts of justice to defend the rights of the employees. The novelty of the thing, and the hope that one favorable judgment of the court would enable the railway employees to regain their lost ground, enabled the Fascio Ferroviario to increase the number of its members in 2 years to 40,000.

 

 

But this organized movement was of short duration. The judgments of the courts were nearly always in favor of the railway companies, and only in rare cases, and after tremendous expenses, could the employees obtain a judgment in favor of their cause. In 1893-94 the Fascio Ferroviario ceased to exist.

 

 

During this period, however, some employees in Milan had founded a society called the Unione degli Operai ed Impiegati della Strade Ferrate (Union of Railway Employees) for the purpose of resistance and aggression against the railway companies. This restored the activity of the mutual-aid society of locomotive engineers and firemen at Milan, and revived some sections of the Fascio Ferroviario.

 

 

In 1894 a congress was convened at Milan for the purpose of combining all these small and weak societies. This movement was successful, and the members for the former societies became members of the new organization, which took the name of Lega dei Ferrovieri Italiani (League of Italian Railway Employees). The members of the society of locomotive engineers and firemen promised adhesion to this new organization, but maintained their authority as far as mutual assistance was concerned. For this purpose the monthly dues were fixed at 3 lire (57.9/10 cents) paid to the home society, of which sum 0.50 lira (9.7/10 cents) went to the benefit of the league. It may be said that the members of the league paid the same dues of 0.50 lira (9.7/10 cents) per month. The league also published a bimonthly journal. The programme of the league was that of resistance against the operating companies. It was a militant society which proposed to declare strikes when the number of its adherents should include the majority of Italian railway employees. In a short time the league succeeded in raising its membership to the number of 10,000. The league having declared its adhesion to the Socialistic Party, the Government dissolved it in October, 1894.

 

 

The league, however, promptly reorganized and succeeded in increasing the number of its adherents in such a way that in a little more than three years the membership amounted to 30,000. The number of members who regularly paid the monthly dues of 0.50 lira (9. cents) does not seem ever to have exceeded 12,000. The main contributors were derived from the class of locomotive engineers and firemen, these numbering in all Italy about 4,000, and of these some 1,800 were members of the league, or 45 per cent. By 1898 the league had managed to accumulate a resistance fund of about 60,000 lire ($ 11,580). Besides this it had contributed to the construction of the Casa dei Ferrovieri Italiani (Italian Railway Employees Building) at Milan, which building cost 220,000 lire ($ 42,460), and is used as a place of meeting and reunion for all railway employees. Then followed the disturbances of May, 1898. The league was suspected of having wished to order a strike of the employees for the purpose of assisting the insurgents at Milan, and it was therefore dissolved by the Governemnt. The principal officers were imprisoned and others were obliged to seek safety in flight, while an unfaithful treasurer, in the confusion, appropriated to his own use a part of the society’s funds.

 

 

The railway labor organizations seem now to have become extinct. It is a fact that up to the present no other new society has been organized, because it is feared that it would be immediately dissolved by the Government and that the chief would be punished with imprisonment.

 

 

In the absence of a society, however, the railway employees established in October, 1898, a weekly paper, called El Treno (The Train). This paper has so far 8,000 subscribers, nearly every one a former member of the dissolved league. The paper defends the same purposes as the league did, on which account a certain sum from the subscription price is set aside for the purposes of propaganda and for defending the rights of railway employees as against the operating companies.

 

 

STRIKES

 

It may be said that in Italy railway strikes are unknown; still there have been some small movements, from which the fear has often been entertained that other and more important strikes may be brewing. The narration of what has happened and what it has been feared might happen in Italy is interesting, particularly on account of the precautions taken by the State to keep down such serious danger to the public order.

 

 

On the 25th of February, 1886 – that is, eight months after the railway contracts went into operation – the minister of the interior informed the prefects of the provinces that the workmen in several workshops (Foggia, Naples, Ancona, Rimini, and Roma) had gone on a strike, and he expressed the fear that this strike might extend to other classes of employees on railways, and especially to locomotive engineers and firemen.

 

 

A strike of locomotive engineers and firemen, even if it were only partial, might suspend the business of the nation and even the most necessary State functions, and in some cities, including Roma, the supply of food products would be seriously diminished. The minister, therefore, gave orders that in case of strikes, when all other means should prove futile, the locomotive engineers should be compelled by force to perform their services, and should be escorted for their own safety as well as that of the service to their proper places. Such a provision would be legitimatized by the laws, and mainly for the supreme and exceptional motive of public order.

 

 

In the month of November, 1893, the minister submitted a new organic roll of the postal and telegraph service. The telegraphers, claiming that they had been injured in their interests, began an agitation, of which Rome was the center, for the purpose of preventing this ordinance from being carried into effect. The minister having been informed of these plans ordered the division chiefs to kindly give the employees to understand that they were in no way injured by the organic roll, and to warm them that violence and other reprehensible acts would be severely punished. He gave, besides this, instructions that in case of necessity the telegraphers would be replaced by clerks and substitutes from offices of the second class, by day laborers, and by military telegraphers from the army and from the navy, and at the same time he asked the minister of war to place at his disposition all soldiers who would be capable of lending their services. But the agitators fearing that if further delay occurred the administration could efficaciously remedy the state of affairs, did not lose any time and succeeded so far that at 11 o’clock on November 20 all the telegraphers at Rome struck and the transmission and receipt of telegrams were suspended. As warnings, good advice, and exhortations were all in vain, steps were taken to substitute new employees for the strikers.

 

 

The Government, in order to cut short the strike which had hardly begun, deliberated whether it should apply the most severe penalties to the strikers or overlook their actions if they should repent and return without delay to the service. These menaces helped to cut the strike short before it had extended to all the offices of the Kingdom. Among the 11 offices where the service was partially interrupted were Rome, Milan, Turin, Genoa, and Venice. Of the 968 employees belonging to these offices, 487 went on strike, or 50.3 per cent.

 

 

This strike, the only one which was declared in Italy, although it does not refer directly to railway employees, is important in so far as it shows how the Government could bring it to an end and cause the telegraphers to return to their work without employing force. In like manner the Government decided in 1898 to employ force as soon as the fear arose that the railway employees would go on a strike.

 

 

In the month of May, 1898, Italy was greatly convulsed by insurrectional disturbances caused by the high price of bread in various regions of the south as well as of the north. Martial law was declared in the provinces of Milan, Florence, and Naples, and the military courts condamned to imprisonment thousand of persons guilty of or suspected of having shown a disposition to rise in insurrection against the Commonwealth. It was also feared that the railway employees would go on a strike in order to help the insurgents of Milan and prevent the Government from sending troops in order to strengthen the somewhat weak garrison of that city.

 

 

That the railway employees were impatient to go on a strike is very certain, as had been declared in the Chamber of Deputies in the session of June 4, 1897, by the Hon. Quirino Nofri, deputy from Turin, elected mainly as a representative of railway employees. The Hon. Q. Nofri said that the railway employees were decided even to impede the business of the nation in order to defend their interests; he added, however, that the moment for the strike had not quite arrived, because the railway people were not yet strong enough to oppose and vanquish the railway companies.

 

 

When the disturbances of May, 1898, broke out, the fear was frequently and generally expressed that the railway employees would profit by an occasion when there would be great need of transportation on the railways; and confidence was certainly not reestablished by the fact that the would-be strikers declared that they wished only to defend their rights as against the companies. The Government, in order to present strikes, the consequences of which at that time would have been very grave and would have endangered the public peace, resolved to militarize a part of the railway personnel, and, consequently, by royal decree of May 10, all persons subject to military duty on indefinite furlough, of any class or category whatever, were called to arms. This call comprised the noncommissioned officers who had been employed among the personnel of the Mediterranean and Adriatic system and other small roads as depot keepers, locomotive engineers, firemen, workingmen authorized to perform the functions of firemen, also workingmen in the depots, chief switchmen and switchmen, roundhouse men and cleaners, chief conductors and conductors, chief brakemen and brakemen, yard master and gang bosses of yard men, and yard men.

 

 

This decree ordered that all of these employees should continue to perform their services on the railways; at the same time they would be considered as part of the army. By this means they kept on working under their own superiors, who were also higher graded soldiers called into military service. In this way the danger of a strike was averted, because the employees were placed under military discipline, a distinction being made, however, between faults committed of a technical or administrative character and those which assumed a military and disciplinary character. The technical and administrative faults continued to be judged under the authority of the railway companies, and were punished according to the regulations governing the roads. The second, such as arbitrary and voluntary absence, strikes, disobedience, and insubordination, were punished according to military law. It was further prescribed that the military uniform should be worn by those employees when not on railway duty, while during railway service, in which nothing was changed, they should use the various distinctive badges of their labor and could wear working clothes.

 

 

It is evident that the Government could employ this means of militarizing to prevent the strike only because in Italy the system of obligatory military service exists. Up to the age of 30 years the State can compel its citizens to perform service in the army. In this case the State had incorporated into the army the railway employees, but still could compel them to continue their services on the railway.

 

 

So far the matter had been covered only by a decree of the Government, but the law of July 17, 1898, was enacted, and this state of affairs was thereby legalized. Article 4 of the law reads as follows:

 

 

The soldiers of the army, as well as of the reserve belonging to the railway, postal, and telegraph services, can be recalled into military service for such time as the Government may judge necessary, still continuing the exercise of their duties and functions in their offices. These recalled men will continue to receive their regular pay, without acquiring any right to the disbursements of the war office. They will be subjected to military jurisdiction, but will continue to submit to all the obligations and regulations of their respective railway administrations. This provision of law was not of indefinite duration, but was to remain in force only until June 30, 1899. Before the law expired by this limitation, the Government proposed to insert in Title II of the law regarding public safety a chapter (VI bis) entitled The protection of the public service, with the following provision:

 

 

The employees, agents, and workingmen performing a public service depending on the State (even if that service should be performed by means of private enterprise) who, in the number of three or more and by previous agreement, abandon their proper duties or charges, or omit to fulfill their duties so as to impede and disturb the regular working of the public service, will be punished, provided that there is no charge of a more serious crime, with imprisonment for not more that one year besides the infliction of the punishment provided for in article 181 of the penal code, which relates to public officials. The promoters and chief will be punished with imprisonment for periods of from one to two years.

 

 

This bill has not yet been approved by Parliament, on account of the obstructionist policy of certain deputies of the Republican, Socialist, and Radical parties. The Government, however, promulgated it by royal decree, which has the force of law, so that up to January, 1900, it belonged to the existing legislation of the country, and as such has been received by the courts of justice. But in January, 1900, the high court of cassation of Rome declared the decree void. The Government then asked that the decree be approved and converted into law by the Parliament. The obstructionist policy of the extreme Left of the Chamber of Deputies had up to March, 1900, succeeded in impeding the adoption of the bill.

 

 

APPRENTICESHIP SCHOOLS FOR WORKING PEOPLE

 

By virtue of article 36 of the agreement, by which the State leased the railways to the companies, there should have been established in connection with every railway system schools for firemen learners and schools for the apprentices in the various workshops.

 

 

In the Mediterranean system these school have proved in general to give very satisfactory results so far as the effect of securing, for the necessities of the service, sufficient technical personnel furnished with the necessary capacity and aptitude was concerned.

 

 

From the following statements will be seen the number of firemen learners who have attended these school and the number promoted at the end of each course, also the number in the school for the apprentices in workshops and those licensed at the end to a full course:

 

 

SCHOOL FOR FIREMEN LEARNERS AT TURIN, ALESSANDRIA, MILAN, PISA, AND NAPLES

 

 

Year

Number attending schools

Number who passed final examination

1885-86

78

72

1886-87

95

81

1887-88

92

83

1888-89

80

52

1889-90

65

53

1890-91

60

52

1891-92

48

39

1892-93

48

37

1893-94

76

66

1894-95

91

82

1895-96

92

81

Total

825

698

 

 

SCHOOL FOR APPRENTICES IN THE TURIN AND NAPLES WORKSHOPS

 

 

Year

 

Number attending schools

 

Number of apprentices licensed at end of full course

First year of course

Second year of course

Third year of course

1890-91

23

1891-92

17

13

1892-93

19

16

10

8

1893-94

29

10

5

4

1894-95

38

22

9

7

1895-96

35

31

20

10

Total

161

92

44

29

 

 

In the Adriatic system these schools have also contributed to improve the instruction of the railway personnel.

 

 

Below is given a statement concerning the school attached to round-house, the average number of firemen learners per year who attended them and were declared fit for service during the period of 1886 to 1896, and the number of soldiers permitted by the competent authorities to take part in this instruction being shown:

 

 

SCHOOL FOR FIREMEN LEARNERS ATTACHED TO ROUNDHOUSES, 1886 TO 1896

 

 

Class

 

Average yearly number of workingmen

 

Who attended school

Who were declared competent

Civilians, already in service

31

30

Civilians, newly assigned

40

31

Soldiers

38

31

 

 

The Sicilian company has also instituted school for firemen learners, which were opened alternatively at Palermo and Messina, so that the young workingmen of the two stations might be enabled to frequent the said schools without forcing them to leave their respective homes.

 

 

The results obtained by the institution of these schools are satisfactory. There is now in the class of firemen an element furnished with superior theoretical and practical knowledge and more intelligent than that which previously existed.

 

 

(a) Since the above was written the Government has embodied a new set of regulations in the decree of June 10, 1900, which is as follows: Regulations to be observed by the railway companies in formulating the schedule of working turns, so as to insure the safe operation of the road

 

 

I – LOCOMOTIVE PERSONNEL ENGINEERS, FIREMEN

 

ARTICLE 1. The hours of labor will be considered as:

 

 

a)    The time required for service on the train, computed from the moment when the employee is required to be present on duty, or at station to take charge of the locomotive, until the time when he is permitted to leave, including rests of not more than one and one-half hours’ duration;

 

b)    The time required to go on the train to a given locality to take service and to return;

 

c)    The time required for switching and making up the train;

 

d)    The fourth part of any time during which the personnel must remain on duty simply in reserve and during which they are not required to remain near the locomotive; and also the time during which the personnel must remain on the spot subject to call, the interval, however, during which the personnel is required to be present on the locomotive and in readiness to start to the relief of any train will be counted as a full period of labor;

 

e)    Any time whatever that is required for work about the locomotive.

 

 

ART. 2. The average duration of daily labor, determined as above, inclusive of the reserve days and the rests, as in following articles, must not exceed 10 hours.

 

 

ART. 3. In any one period of 24 hours the duration of labor, calculated according to article 1, must not exceed 13 hours. When, however, the duration of labor exceeds 12 hours the intervals of rest preceding and following the period of labor must be at least 10 hours.

 

 

ART. 4. The personnel must be allowed a continuous rest of 8 hours’ duration between each turn when at home and of 7 hours when away from home, utilizing in the latter case, when occasion arises, the time when simply in reserve or subject to call, as specified in article 1, (d).

 

 

The continuous rests must be separated by intervals (actual labor, presence on duty, brief rest during working hours, etc.) of not more than 17 hours, and the number in each working turn must not be less than the number of days over which the turn extends.

 

 

When it is not possible to accord 8 hours of rest at home the difference must be compensated for by a longer period od rest either before or after the deviation from this rule, and also by a brief rest during working hours, but the repose must not be less than 7 hours.

 

 

ART. 5. Among the continuous rests at home prescribed by the preceding article there must be at least 12 per year of the duration of 24 hours each, without prejudice to the annual vacation prescribed by the regulation.

 

 

II – TRAIN PERSONNEL CONDUCTORS, GUARDS, BRAKEMEN

 

ART. 6. The hours of labor will be considered as:

 

 

a)    The time employed on the trip according to the train schedule;

 

b)    The time required for accessory occupations before the departure and after the arrival of the train, counting the whole interval between the arrival of a train and the departure on a subsequent train when this interval is not longer than one hour;

 

c)    One-fourth of the time during which the employee, while not en route, remains in reserve at the station subject to call when needed.

 

 

ART. 7. The average duration of daily labor as determined above must not exceed 11 hours per turn (including time in reserve and rest during working hours).

 

 

ART. 8. In any one period of 24 consecutive hours the duration of labor, computed as specified in article 6, must not exceed 15 hours. When, however, the duration of labor exceeds 14 hours the intervals of rest between which the said period of labor is comprised must be at least 10 hours.

 

 

ART. 9. The personnel must be accorded a continuous rest of at least 8 hours’ duration between each turn when at home, and of at least 7 hours when away from home.

 

 

The continuous rests must be separated by intervals (actual labor, presence on duty, rest during work, etc.) of not more than 17 hours, and the number in each working turn must not be less than the number of days over which the turn extends.

 

 

When, however, the time is interrupted by one or more periods of inaction of not less than 4 hours, the intervals between the periods of continuous rest may be prolonged, exceptionally, to 19 hours, in which case the rest following must be at least 10 hours long.

 

 

When it is not possible to accord the 8 hours’ rest at home, the difference must be compensated for by a longer period of rest either before or after the deviation from this rule, and also by a brief rest during working hours. But the rest must be not less than 7 hours.

 

 

ART. 10. Among the continuous rests at home prescribed by the preceding article, there must be at least 12 per year of the duration of 24 hours each, without prejudice to the annual vacation prescribed by the regulations.

 

 

III – STATION PERSONNEL CHIEF AND ASSISTANT STATION MASTERS, CLERKS AND ASSISTANTS, TELEGRAPHERS, YARD MASTERS, SWITCHMEN, BLOCK-SIGNAL MEN, FOREMEN OF LABORERS, GANG BOSSES, LABORERS

 

ART. 11. For every period of 24 hours the duration of labor must be established according to the nature, intensity, and continuity of the normal labor of the personnel:

 

 

Up to 10 hours, in cases where the conditions of work are more severe or difficult.

 

 

Up to 14 hours, in cases of ordinary work, in which there must be included an intermission of 2 hours or 2 intermissions of 1 hour each.

 

 

In exceptional cases, up to 16 hours, in small stations, when there must be an intermission of 4 hours, either at one time or at smaller intervals of not less than 1 hour each.

 

 

To the provisions of this article will be added special regulations establishing the maximum time that the switchmen may be put to work in the signal cabins.

 

 

ART. 12. Whenever the day and night turns of service alternate, the personnel may not be assigned to continuous night service for more than 7 consecutive nights.

 

 

The change of turn is affected by prolonging the service of one day up to 16 hours, preceded or followed by a continuous rest of equal duration.

 

 

ART. 13. In every period of 24 hours there must be accorded the personnel a continuous rest of 7 or 8 hours, according as the homes of the personnel are

in the vicinity of the station or not.

 

 

IV – ROAD PERSONNEL GATE KEEPERS

 

ART. 14. The regular hours of service are 14 in every 24.

 

 

ART. 15. The personnel must be accorded daily a continuous rest of a minimum duration of 7 hours, in addition to the time required for going to and from their homes.

 

 

ART. 16. In the case of track men, who also serve as gate keepers, the regular hours of service per day must not exceed 13 and the continuous rest must be not less than 8 hours, besides the time necessary to go to and from their homes.

 

 

FEMALE GATE KEEPERS

 

ART. 17. The regular hours of service must not exceed 12 per day, with a continuous rest at night of not less than 9 hours, which time may be reduced to 8 hours during the summer season.

 

 

V – GENERAL PROVISIONS

 

ART. 18. The present regulations apply to the personnel expressly specified in the same, also when employed in other work not having a direct connection with the safety of the train service. They apply moreover to employees of other classes when assigned to the performance of the duties above specified.

 

 

ART. 19. In exceptional instances and when special circumstances require it in the case of the locomotive and train personnel when away from home and in the case of stations having but one administrative employee, a deviation from the minimum of 7 hours of continuous rest may be made, if the difference is compensated for by a longer rest either before or after the deviation from the rule, but it must not be below 6 hours.

 

 

In this case the working turns of the locomotive and train personnel and that of the stations to which this provision applies must be approved by the governmental inspector-general.

 

 

ART. 20. In case of inclement weather, accidents, delays, and other exceptional circumstances extraordinary services may be required of the personnel.

 

 

The personnel must not in any case quit the service on account of a prolungation of labor for such a cause.

 

 

ART. 21. The operating company must post a schedule and notice of the working turns in such a way that the personnel may take cognizance of it. It must also transmit a copy of this schedule and notice to the district offices of the royal inspector-general of railways.

ART. 18. The present regulations apply to the personnel expressly specified in the same, also when employed in other work not having a direct connection with the safety of the train service. They apply moreover to employees of other classes when assigned to the performance of the duties above specified.

 

 

ART. 19. In exceptional instances and when special circumstances require it in the case of the locomotive and train personnel when away from home and in the case of stations having but one administrative employee, a deviation from the minimum of 7 hours of continuous rest may be made, if the difference is compensated for by a longer rest either before or after the deviation from the rule, but it must not be below 6 hours.

 

 

In this case the working turns of the locomotive and train personnel and that of the stations to which this provision applies must be approved by the governmental inspector-general.

 

 

ART. 20. In case of inclement weather, accidents, delays, and other exceptional circumstances extraordinary services may be required of the personnel.

 

 

The personnel must not in any case quit the service on account of a prolungation of labor for such a cause.

 

 

ART. 21. The operating company must post a schedule and notice of the working turns in such a way that the personnel may take cognizance of it. It must also transmit a copy of this schedule and notice to the district offices of the royal inspector-general of railways.

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