Flashcards in Chapter 4: Working Conditions Deck (17):
What is the debate surrounding the results of Industrialisation on working conditions for many of the labouring classes?
There are differing views as to wether or not working conditions for ordinary people worsened with Industrialisation or that they had been just as hard under the domestic system.
What do most Historians take the view of surrounding the change in working conditions?
Like Asa Briggs, they take the view that adaption to the new rigid regime was necessary, although it was harsh and unpalatable for most workers. He suggests that higher wages paid in the factories than had been paid under the old domestic system helped to offset the tougher conditions.
What were the factories built to accomodate?
They were built to accommodate machines, not men.
What was the attitude of the male workforce towards factory work?
They resented the machinery that was running their lives and resented the factory owner, who even if he was paternalistic like Robert Owen, was making capital out of their labour. Some turned to attacking and destroying machiney, with consequences that were terrible for themselves and their families.
What were the cotton mills like?
It was necessary to maintain a humid temperature to prevent the threads from snapping and so there was little ventilation so workers were prone to lung infection.
What were the risks in factories?
There were no safety regulations in place and the machines had no safety guards. This resulted in terrible accidents if workers caught their fingers or hair in the mchines. There was a high risk of fire, since early machines had wooden frames.
How were the workers treated?
Discipline was harsh and workers were fined for lateness or slowness.
How long did people work?
The machines worked 24 hours a day in order to make maximum profit for the owner and so a system of shift work was in place. The shifts were usually twelve hours and sometimes longer and the working week was six days. The pace was relentless and the workforce had to keep o a strict timetable.
What was a disadvantage of factory work over small domestic enterprises or working on the land?
It lacked the freedom and flexibility of small domestic enterprises or working on the land.
How much of the workforce were children?
At least 20% of the workforce were children, sometimes as young as six.
Who made up most of the workforce in the cotton factories, and for what reason?
Women and children, for the simple reason that they were cheaper to pay than men and easier to discipline.
Who earnt the most?
Whole families often worked in a factory, the man earnt twice as much as his wife and ten times more than his children.
What was there no allowance for?
Sickness and no copensation for personal injuries rceived at work.
What happened to pauper children?
Since they were a useful source of labour, they were often taken to work far from their home parish.
How were children treated during work in the past?
The employment of children was not new, as it was the norm for them to work under the old domestic system and on the land, where working conditions had as many drawbacks as those in the factories and the hours were just as long.
What does Asa Briggs point out that the factories did?
They shone a spotlight on the problem of child labour, at a time when the number of children in the population was rising rapidly.