By Sheila Blackburn

The nature of sweating and the origins of low pay laws are of basic social, fiscal and ethical significance. even supposing tricky to outline, sweating, in response to a opt for committee proven to enquire the difficulty, used to be characterized via lengthy hours, bad operating stipulations and primarily through low pay. through the start of the 20th century the govt anticipated that as much as a 3rd of the British team may be classed as sweated labour, and for the 1st time in a century started to take into consideration introducing laws to handle the problem.

Whilst historians have written a lot on unemployment, poverty aid and different such comparable social and business concerns, fairly little paintings has been performed at the factors, quantity and personality of sweated labour. That paintings which has been performed has tended to target the tailoring trades in London and Leeds, and fails to provide a vast evaluate of the phenomenon and the way it built and adjusted over time.

In distinction, this quantity adopts a large nationwide and long-run strategy, delivering a extra holistic realizing of the topic. Rejecting the argument that sweating used to be in basic terms a London or gender similar challenge, it paints an image of a frequent and regularly moving trend of sweated labour around the kingdom, that was once to finally convince the govt to introduce laws within the type of the 1909 Trades Board Act. It used to be this act, meant to wrestle sweated labour, which was once to shape the cornerstone of low pay laws, and the barrier to the advent of a minimal salary, for the following ninety years.

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A Fair Day’s Wage for a Fair Day’s Work?: Sweated Labour and the Origins of Minimum Wage Legislation in Britain (Studies in Labour History) by Sheila Blackburn


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