HC Deb 01 April 1909 vol 3 c487

asked the President of the Board of Trade whether he is aware of the amount of sweating existing in the bakery trade in the East End of London, such, for instance, as men being called upon to work 100 hours per week for £1 in wages; and whether he will favourably consider the possibility of including this trade in the schedule to the Trade Boards Bill?


I am aware that the conditions of labour in the baking trade are, in many cases, unsatisfactory, though the figures stated in the question cannot be accepted as representing the usual rates of wages and hours of labour prevailing. The propriety of the inclusion of this and other trades with regard to which representations have been received in the schedule to the Trade Boards Bill will be duly considered, but I would point out that the Bill provides means of bringing within its scope trades not included in the schedule in which the evils known as "sweating" prevail.


Is it not a fact that many bakers work 30 hours on end, while a hundred hours a week is not an uncommon thing?


I cannot, in answer to a particular question, state the general conditions of the bakery trade. I have already stated that the conditions are unsatisfactory, but that has not to be taken as indicating the inclusion of this particular trade, at any rate until we see the success of the experiment.


Is it not a fact that many of these bakers are employed seven days of the week, notwithstanding that the law provides against such employment?


That is not a matter for the Board of Trade. The Board of Trade does not deal with the penal aspect of this question—only with organisation.