The Future of the Textile Industry
By G. B. Holdsworth

At the moment all thinking men and women of the Allies are deeply concerned with all that is meant by the one word "Reconstruction." The reason for this is plain, and the need paramount, because after the world-wide devastation of the last four years the constructive effort of the previous decade has been largely invalidated, and all the best brains of this country have been concentrated on inventing and producing weapons and methods of destruction or in tackling problems with this same end in view.

From this welter of blood and waste must be built up a new world of effort and energy in which all must work together to ensure that the victories of peace shall be achieved not less surely than those of war, and thus create such sane improvements in the life of the whole nation as may serve as a fitting and lasting memorial to the sacrifices of the race during the Great War.

How is our local textile industry to shoulder its share of this great task? Rapid evolution has been taking place in the trade ever since the first rude awakening in 1914: ever changing conditions following in rapid succession, have produced new trade problems which have been successfully grappled with, and in many cases foreseen: new methods and new machinery have been introduced: the reward for conditions of labour enormously improved, and output had been raised to a level little dreamt of before the necessity was made clear by the drastic requirements of the war.

So much at least have we achieved under war conditions, and it is plain to all who have the well-being of the trade as a whole at heart that we must extract, retain and improve all that is best in what we have already learnt, and ruthlessly cut adrift all that was necessary only as a war-time measure. Fortunately most textile machinery is easily adaptable to peace requirements for civilian trade, the world is hungry by the gap made in civilian production during the past four years, and when raw material is available, a point on the horizon now clearly visible, it only remains for master and man alike to share the harvest which peace has in store for them.

But here rises a point which must be made indubitably clear to all concerned, the absolute community of interest of employer and employee. The master must realise to the full his moral and social responsibility to those he employs, and pay a wage which will enable a man to live in self-respect and bring up a family in decency, with opportunities for advancement according to merit.

The workman must recognise that capital which cannot pay a reasonable rate of interest will soon be withdrawn from an unprofitable business, and that by increase instead of restriction of output, he helped to cut down all overhead charges, reduce costs, and so make it possible to produce a cheaper article at a better wage. In my opinion, patience and self-restraint will be required by all parties in the industry during the short period of transition from Government control to civilian freedom, but the industry locally is alert and prepared for great future development, and I think is largely on the way to the best solution of any difficulties with which it may be beset.

I have great faith in our local men and women and for their future.

As reported in THE HALIFAX GUARDIAN, 8 Jan 1919
See more on George Bertram Holdsworth

© 2024 David W. Holdsworth  

Please send questions, updates, additions to:
Middle Pasture, Halifax, HX3 0AG, UK
Tel: +44 1422 322500