A new English institution
It is now officially announced that the labor department of the board of trade is to be reorganized, and that the government has sanctioned the requisite expenditure. The early publication of the facts in connection with it was regarded as a breach of confidence on the part of some one who was consulted, as was also the fact that certain persons have been approached on the subject of the various appointments. However, Mr. Mundella has now announced, "The new labor department will be under the board of trade, but it will be as distinct as that of the railways from the mercantile marine." There will be a Commissioner for Labor, with four labor correspondents, each of the latter having his own special work.
There will also be, it appears, a number of labor correspondents in the chief centres of industry, whose duty it will be to furnish information from time to time or regularly, as the case may be. The latter will not be "officials," but will have a small yearly honorarium for the special work performed. It will be their duty to supply reports on the state of trade, on matters of dispute and other subjects. In the event of special inquiries being required, the labor department will send down an "official" or other person specially qualified. A Labor Gazette will be established for the purpose of publishing and disseminating the information collected, but quite distinct from the Board of Trade Journal. Moreover, it is intended that the invaluable mass of information hidden away in Blue Books, consular and other reports, shall be popularized and presented in an available and readable form.
In this way it is hoped that the labor department will fulfil its mission as a department for the collection, tabulation and publication of information on all subjects of industrial interest, not merely historically, as in the United States, but periodically, throughout the year. The department will not be executive in any way, but its advice will be sought by the responsible minister upon matters pertaining to labor. There will, however, still be the divided duties and responsibilities as regards factories and work shops and mines under the home office, and so to registration by the registrar of friendly societies.