By Sheila Blackburn

The nature of sweating and the origins of low pay laws are of basic social, monetary and ethical significance. even supposing tricky to outline, sweating, in line with a opt for committee confirmed to enquire the difficulty, used to be characterized via lengthy hours, negative operating stipulations and primarily by means of low pay. by way of the start of the 20th century the govt. expected that as much as a 3rd of the British group might 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 reduction and different such similar social and business concerns, fairly little paintings has been performed at the motives, volume 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 huge evaluate of the phenomenon and the way it built and adjusted over time.

In distinction, this quantity adopts a large nationwide and long-run process, supplying a extra holistic realizing of the topic. Rejecting the argument that sweating was once purely a London or gender similar challenge, it paints an image of a common and always moving trend of sweated labour around the kingdom, that used to be to ultimately convince the govt to introduce laws within the kind of the 1909 Trades Board Act. It was once this act, meant to strive against sweated labour, which was once to shape the cornerstone of low pay laws, and the barrier to the creation of a minimal salary, for the subsequent 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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