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Labour Notes.

SWEATED TRADES IN ENGLAND. According to a writer in the Manchester Times there are 443 trades represented at the “Sweated Industries Exhibition.” He adds : —The mere mention of this number is enough to take one's breath away. Space is limited, or it would be very interesting to publish a complete list of the trades affected, so that the public might learn how wide-reaching are its ramifications. Still I cannot refi'ain from mentioning some of the classes of work in which sweating, carried on in addition to those already covcz-ed, prevails, bag and box making, fur and umbrella tassel making, feather work, match and card-boaz-d box making, lace frills, confirmation wreaths, babies, hats and bonnets, dressing gowns, military beading, bib making, fountain pen boxes, game and powder boxes, strawberry baskets, mouse traps, book and Bible folding, children’s money boxes, hair nets, hair and tooth brushes, peaks; for soldiers caps, bows for shoes, waist bands and belts, toy mail carts, horse covers, coffin tassets, night dresses, embroidered railway badges, dressmaking, cigarette, nail and chain making, bead work, lace making, men's ties, pleated bows, umbrella- and parasol handle making and covering, straw-hat making, and scores of other trades as well. SHAWL FINGERING. This is one of the trades that has not yet been invaded by machinery, as no one has yet been able to invent a machine that would do the work without tearing the shawl. On the Scottish plaids the work is very tiring. The price paid works out at 4|-d each, and the work occupies from four to six hours to do. One woman who worked steadily from 8 a.m. until 10 p.m. was aide to make no more than 6s 2d in the week. For small, cheap shawls the price paici is from 5d to 6d a dozen, and for scarves 3d a dozen. These are described as especially bad branches, in which the remuneration works out at from Id to a fraction less per hour. I learnt that two workers on the small shawls and scarves made from 2s 6d to 3s a week. BIBLE-FOLDING. Bible folding. I gathered, is not a separate trade, but merely a part of the trade of book folding, which in its turn is a branch of book-binding. A good deal of folding of thin Bibles and Prayer Books is. done by women at home. The work is very monotonous. as it consists of constantly folding sheet after sheet in precicely the same manner. The demand for cheap Bibles azid Prayer Books is largely responsible for the sweating that takes place. The average wage for outdoor and indoor folders and sewers all taken together, is from 5s 9ld to 6s 4id for a week of 60 hours. SOME SUGGESTED REMEDIES. I could fill a page with facts and figures like those given above showing the miserable condition under which many sweated workpeople live. But sufficient has been said to show how far-reaching- is the evil. The object of the promoter's of the exhibition and the desire of all rightminded people is to see an end put once for ad to this horrible exploitation of human flesh and blood. But how can this be accomplished ?. Many suggestions have been made. The most important seems to be belter organisation on the part of the workers. and the education of the purchasing public in such a way as to make the sale of sweated goods impossible. The Canadian plan of labelling all goods so as to guarantee that they are made under proper conditions would work wonders, as it is c-annot find whore and how the goods only the knowledge that the public az’c made that keeps sweating alive. It is also suggested that the Truck Acts should be amended so as to make deductions and charges illegal, and that home work should only be allowed in premises which are suitable, and that no work should bo given in the homo of anyone not holding a certificate from the Government inspector.

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Bibliographic details

Labour Notes., Southern Cross, Volume 14, Issue 51, 9 March 1907

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Labour Notes. Southern Cross, Volume 14, Issue 51, 9 March 1907