An agreement to improve conditions of Russian workers (1917)

On March 11th 1917 the Petrograd Soviet newspaper Izvestiia printed news of an agreement to improve the conditions of Russian workers:

“An agreement has been reached between the Petrograd Soviet of Workers’ and Soldiers’ Deputies and the Petrograd Association of Manufacturers on the introduction of an eight-hour working day in factories and mills and on the establishment of factory committees and chambers of conciliation.

The eight-hour working day

1. Pending the publication of the law regulating the working day, the eight-hour working day (eight hours of actual labor) is applicable to all shifts, and introduced in all factories and mills.

2. On Saturdays the working day is to comprise seven hours.

3. The reduction in working hours is to have no effect on workers’ wages.

4. Overtime work is permitted only with the consent of factory committees.

Factory Committees

1 . Factory committees, elected from workers of a given enterprise on the basis of universal, equal, and etc. suffrage, are to be established in all factories and mills.

2. The functions of these committees are to be as follows: to represent the workers in a given enterprise in their relations with government or public institutions; to formulate opinions on questions pertaining to the socio-economic life of workers in a given enterprise; to settle problems arising from personal relationships of workers in a given enterprise; to represent workers before the management in matters concerning labor-management relations.

Chambers of conciliation

1 . Chambers of conciliation are to be established in all mills and factories for the purpose of settling all misunderstandings arising from labor-management relations…

2. Chambers of conciliation are to consist of an equal number of elected representatives from workers and from the management of the enterprise…”