HC Deb 25 April 1899 vol 70 c525

I beg to ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department whether the existing state of affairs as regards the conditions of labour in fruit-preserving factories has is been brought to his notice; whether he has observed that the Chief Inspector's Report for 1897 shows that in some factories arduous work is permitted to young persons during a day Of unlimited duration throughout the months of June, July, August, and September on the plea of the spoiling of fruit, whereas other firms meet the extra demand made by the arrival of the fruit by additions to the staff or readjustments of departments; whether he is aware that many factories preserve bath fruit and fish, employing the same persons for both processes, thus often extending over a period of more than six months the time during which women and girls are unprotected by the Factory and Workshops Acts: and whether, seeing the proved absence of any necessity fur the existing exemption, he will take steps to put a stop to this state of affairs?


The state Of affairs described in the Question is constantly under my consideration, but I have no power to remedy it, unless Parliament will agree to repeal the existing exemptions from the Factory Acts enjoyed by the trades in question. I proposed last Session that this should be done, and that the Secretary of State should be entrusted with powers to deal with the whole matter under conditions which would secure the protection Of the work-people, but Parliament had no time to deal with the Bill. I think legislation in this matter is desirable.