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of these girls—they are all over eighteen years of ageearn 15s. a week or somewhat less, whilst the remaining one is paid 118.
Some good might, no doubt, be done if the public would boycott restaurants and refreshment rooms where the waitresses are notoriously overworked or underpaid, and would patronise only such shopkeepers as treat their assistants with some degree of consideration. But it is difficult to know who these are. Attempts have been made to draw up a "white list” of the employers who pay their shop people well, and do not overwork them, but little has as yet been done. The Christian Social Union have, indeed, drawn up a list of bakers whom they can recommend as “dealing fairly with their employees and satisfying the conditions of the sanitary authorities," and of clerical tailors who adhere to the arrangement as to hours and wages agreed upon by the Association of London Master Tailors and the Amalgamated Society of Tailors. They also recommend Lockhart's, the Aerated Bread Company, “ Pearce and Plenty,” and the British Tea Table Company as coffee-houses in which the waitresses are never worked for more than eleven hours per day, are not fined, have opportunities for sitting down, and have other advantages over the waitresses in most refreshment rooms, though the conditions under which they work “leave room for much improvement.” The London Society of Compositors (7 and 9, St. Bride Street, E.C.) publishes a list of “Fair Houses.” There is room for a good deal of useful work in this direction, and we may hope to see more accomplished in the near future. The Co-operative Institute Society, at the depôt for cooperative productions, 19, Southampton Row, Holborn, sell boots and shoes, hosiery, shirts, dress goods and china, and do tailoring on their own premises. By purchasing from them one may be sure that one is buying goods which have not been made by sweated labour and that one is aiding the co-operative movement besides.
In investing money, again, one should choose such companies as are said to treat their employees well, and one should then use one's influence as a shareholder to secure this being done. Strikes for better pay and shorter hours, such as those of the dockers and the great strike against sweating in the boot and shoe trade, should be aided by every social reformer. Anyone who en ploys labour has, of course, greater possibilities of giving direct aid in the abolition of sweating. He should see to it that all in his employment work no longer than the legal hours, are well paid, and work under sanitary conditions. The Bishop of Bedford, when examined before the Sweating Commission, pointed out that if men of business. "were content with less returns and attended more directly to the business themselves” they might effect a considerable change. The answer often given when attention to the sweating of their employees is, he added, “Oh I cannot interfere with that department, that is Mr. Such-andSuch’s. Mr. Such-and-Such knows that though he may be told to treat all that are employed fairly, it will go hardly with him at the time of stocktaking if he does not produce as good a balance as he had last time. And those who in my judgment very sadly neglect their duty are, many of them, those that we all honour as most philanthropic and charitable people. I would rather that their earnings were a little less, and they had less to give away and so this evil was reduced.”
Members of philanthropic and zoophilist societies should use their influence to prevent their society from employing
sweated labour for their printing, clerical, and other work. This is frequently done by such societies in order to save money for their special work, and thus sweating is promoted by the very people most anxious to lessen suffering or remove oppression.
It does not appear that we can do much more by direct action as individuals. We must look to collective and State action to do the greater part of the work of mitigating and destroying sweating.
COLLECTIVE ACTION OF THE WORKERS. If the isolated action of the individual becomes more insignificant as society grows more complex, the union of individuals becomes increasingly possible, and the power of such union greater. This being the case, many have seen in co-operation of the workers the true remedy for sweating. Much has undoubtedly been done by a portion of the upper section of the working classes to better their condition by co-operation in distribution, and of late years in production also, and the movement seems now to be progressing at an accelerated speed. But the lowest section of the workers, whom it is most imperative to help, seem at present beyond the reach of its influence. Ignorant, overworked, underfed, and often working in isolation, it is almost impossible for them to effectively co-operate.
There is more hope in the endeavours which have lately been made to band the unskilled workers together in Trade Unions. Yet many of the reasons which have rendered Trade Unionism such a potent force among the skilled workmen are absent in this case. The earnings of the unskilled are so small that great difficulty is experienced in regularly contributing even the smallest sum to the Union fund; their numbers are practically unlimited, so that their places are easily filled if they strike, and this fringe of unskilled labour is added to by the very success of the skilled artisans since their Unions are necessarily confined to good workmen, and the less competent men are added to the already swollen ranks of the unemployed or the sweated. Yet in spite of such enormous difficulties something has been gained by union of unskilled labourers. The Union gives some additional strength to the worker by the collective bargain with the master; it strengthens the individual in resisting deductions, fines, and other forms of petty tyranny, and it helps to develop a feeling of solidarity among the workers, and to keep their grievances before the public eye. It is to this publicity, and to the growth of a healthy public opinion, that we must look to bring about the adoption of the only means which is strong enough, and far reaching enough, to give really effective aid to the sweated class—viz., Legislation for the Protection of Labour.
ECONOMIC EVOLUTION. One of the most potent forces which are making for the elimination of sweating is the growing consolidation of capital and the consequent tendency for work to be carried on in large factories ; for large shops and warehouses to supersede smaller ones; and for transportation to be under the control of large companies—such as the L. and N.W. Railway (employing an army of 60,000 men) and the P. and O. Steamship Company. . The growth of these large concerns favours the abolition of sweating, because it tends to abolish “ domestic workshops,” the giving of outwork and sub-contracting, and to eliminate the small master, shopkeeper, and dealer who had not the means to carry on his business in such a way as to secure proper conditions for his employees. In regard to “domestic workshops,” Mr. Lakeman said in 1894 : “I shall hold to the opinion that these domestic workshops are great evils, for we cannot apply the law to them as we can to other workshops ; they are occupied by persons of such varied habits, who are recipients of a wage from the employer which would not be offered to a worker on his premises, that wages are kept down, the elevation which one looks for in a London factory worker, both as to character and position, is lost, and the factory laws, which ensure regularity, due time for meals, and strict leaving off, so valuable to young persons, are never before a domestic worker.” It is, of course, quite possible for sweating to go on in a large establishment, especially in such trades as have not yet been brought under the Factory Acts; but the workers in such places have more opportunities of organising themselves : the business is carried on publicly and not in holes and corners, it is much easier to bring the influence of public opinion to bear on the employers, and, finally, the growth of these large concerns renders necessary the extension of the Factory, Sanitary, and Truck Acts, and their more efficient enforcement.
LEGISLATION FOR THE PROTECTION OF LABOUR. At the end of the last and the beginning of the present century sweating was well nigh universal. The movement for the liberation of the worker from Feudal restrictions and outgrown forms of association had ended in throwing him helplessly into the power of the rapidly growing capitalist class, with the result that he became a slave in everything but the name. Long hours were toiled by