Page:Economic Development in Denmark Before and During the World War.djvu/41

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association. There were a few trade unions that declared for greater independence and stood apart from the federation; but all together they formed a compact and solid body which was arrayed, politically and socially, against all the other classes of society. In 1892 the Federative Trade Unions of Copenhagen had introduced into its constitution a clause providing for mutual support in case of strikes, and this principle was also included in the constitution of the League of Federated Trades. If the members of one trade union resolved to go out on strike, and the chief organization approved the action, contributions were exacted from the other trade unions and used for the support of the strikers. Moreover, the trade unions also maintained certain international connexions, chiefly in Scandinavia, through which they might expect assistance in case of a conflict with 'capital'.

The procurement of higher wages was of course the main object of these organizations; but they also interested themselves in other matters in behalf of labour, such as support of the unemployed, exchange of labour, regulation of apprenticeship, etc. Some of these objects have now been taken over by other institutions, as we shall see further on, but the trade unions have nevertheless remained in close touch with the work.

The second standard by which to measure the growing strength of the labour movement is furnished by the parliamentary and municipal elections. As early as 1872 the workmen of Copenhagen nominated candidates for election to the Folketing (Lower House), one of whom was Pio, but they received very few votes. Nor did they fare much better at the next elections. Still, they received an increased number of votes, and it was becoming apparent that several constituencies would eventually become socialistic. Finally, in 1884, the social-democrats seated two representatives in Folketing; and steady progress followed thereafter. In 1892 some 20,000 social-democratic votes returned only two members, but in 1901 the number of votes was nearly 40,000