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Report of the select committee on conducting factories and fair wage clause online

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^^^'•^UBS. ROOM





Conducting of Factories


Fair Wage Clause.

Printed by Order oý the Legislative Council.
JULY, 1906.

[C. 1—0(3.]— Factories and Fair Wage Clause.



30th Mai/, 1906.

Okdeked : — That a Select Committee ba ap])ointed to
inquire into the conducting of Factories in the Cape Colony Avith a
view to eliciting :

(a) If sufficient air space is provided.

(b) Whether the sanitary arrang-ements are adequate.

(c) The age and number of apprentices.
Id) The wages paid.

(e) The hours of labour.

(/) That provisions be made for the shielding of dangerous

The Committee to have power to take evidence and call for
papers, and to consist of Messrs. Smith, Dempers, Pyott, Powell,
Dr. Petersen, and Mr. Kiihler (Mover).

Ordered :— That the subject matter of the following Motion
be referred to the Select Committee appointed to inquire into the
conducting of Factories in the Cape Colony : —

" That in the opinion of this House what is known as the
Fair Wao-e Clause should be inserted in all Government

31st Mot/, 1906.

Ordered : — That the name of Colonel Bayly be added to the
Select Committee on Factories.

• 25th June, 1906.

Ordered : — That a Message be transmitted to the Honourable
the House of Assembly, requesting that slips of the Evidence
taken and to be taken \>y the Committee of the House of
Assembly inqidring into the necessity For a Factory Act in this
Colonv, may be snjjplied to the Council for the information of
its Committee on Factories, the like information to be supplied
to the House of Assembly l)y the Committee of this House.

The Report and Evidence dealing with the question of a Fair
Wage Clause in Government Contracts will be found after pages
87a of Evidence on Factories ; the two sections being-
distinguished by the letters " a " and " b."





Orders of Coiincil... ... ... ii

Contents ... ... ... ... ... ... iii-iv

Report on Conducting- of Factories ... ... v-xiv

Do. do. do. (Dutch) ... xv-xxvi

Proceedings of Committee ... ... ... xxvii— xxxiii

Evidence : —

On Conducting of Factories.

Mr. Percy McKillop ... ... ... ... ... la

Mr. Chas. Jas. Craig ...


Mr. Marks Harris

... 12a

Mr. Thomas Palmer, M.A.


Mr. Wm. Charles Salter


Mr. Abraham Stone


Miss Leah Solomons

... 35a

Mr. Max Warhaft


Miss Dora Rosenthal ...


Mr. Percy Williams

... 51a

Mr. Otto Koepper


Mr. Wm. Fred. Stange


A Dressmaker of Cape Town


Mr. Joseph Corben


Mr. Jolm Garlick, M.L.A.


in ri-rix

... 76a


ment Contracts


On^^Fuir JVacje Clause.


Mr. Chas. Jas. Craig

... lb

Mr. Marks Harris


Mr. Thomas Palmer, M.A


Mr. Wm. Chas. Salter


Mr. A])raham Stone


Mr. Anton Anderson ...


Mr. Advocate Alexander






ApiieiKlices : —

J^A.] Provisions of the Factories and Shop Acts o£ Victoria i-iii

[B.] Keport of Sul>-Comniittee ... ... ... ... iii-iv

[C] Evidence of Oudtshoorn Feather Sorters ... ... v-vi

[D.] Employment of Children Act, 1903, (English) chap.

45 Factory and Workshops Act, 1901, do. chap. 22 vii

[E.] Letter from Commissioner, Urban Police District,
forwarding- detailed list [Not printed.] of 208 Fac-
tories in Cape Town and Suburbs ... ... ... viii

[F.] Letter from Acting Town Clerk of Cajie Town, for-
warding a copy of the Fair Wage Clause adopted in
Municipal Contracts ... ... ... ... ... viii-ix

[G.] Copy of Cape Town and District Carpenters' and

Joiners' Local Code of Working Rules ... ... x-xi

[ H.] Letter from Secretary, South African Manufacturers'
Association, forwarding Copy of Rules for a General
Conciliation Board ... xi-xii



SELECT COMMITTEE appointed by Orders of
the Legislative Council, dated the 30th May,
31st May, and 25th June, 1906, to inquire into
the conducting of Factories in the Cape Colony,
with a view to eliciting :


(a) If sufficient air space is provided ;

(b) Whether the sanitary arrangements are
adequate ;

(c) The age and number of apprentices ;

(d) The wages paid ;

( e) The hours of labour ;

(/) That provision be made for the shielding

of dangerous machinery ;
(g) The insertion of the Fair Wage Clause in

all Government Contracts ;

the Committee to have power to take evidence,
call for papers, interchange slips of evidence
with the Committee of the House of Assembly
on Factory Act, and to consist of Col. BAYLY,
Dr. Peteksen, Messrs. Smith, Dempeks,
Pyott, Powell and Kohler (Mover).

Your Committee, having carefully gone into the
matters mentioned in the terms of reference, has
come to the following conclusions :

1. That, taken as a whole, the larger and newer
Factories are well conducted, and leave little to be
desired. Indeed, in the case of one, the L^nited
Tobacco Companies' Factory, in Kloof Street, your
Committee is of opinion that the conditions under
which the work is being carried on are almost ideal,


and could hardly be improved upon. This Factory-
may well serve as a model to others, and where
employers so evidently study the comfort of their
employees it must tend, not alone to contentment,
but also to a better return from the labour

2. In the majority of cases sanitary arrange-
ments are adequate, though your Committee has it
in evidence that in some cases there are not sufi&-
cient w.c.'s for the number of hands employed, nor
is there due regard paid to the segregation of the
sexes, w.c.'s for men and women being next each
other, and used indiscriminately. Your Committee
considers that provision should be immediately
made to remedy this state of affairs, and, as in the
English Factory Act, there should be separately
screened off entrances for men and women. It also
appears that some places are seldom swept, and
never whitewashed, nor are the floors ever
washed. In any Factory Act brought forward it
should be compulsory to keep these places clean by
sweeping, washing the floor occasionally with
some disinfectant, and Avhitewashing at least once
in six months.

3. Although to-day there are fewer young chil-
dren employed in Factories than there were 12
months ago. owing mainly to the Education Act of
1905, your Committee has reason to believe that
children are still being employed at too young
an age, and would recommend that no child
under the age of 14 be allowed to work in any
Factory, and that the hours of labour for women
and ycïung persons under 18 should be limited by
law. The Victorian Act provides that : " No child
under 18 may work in a Fa ctory . No person under 16
years of age, and no woman or girl can be employed
for more than 48 hours in a factory or workroom,
provided that not more than 10 days in the year,
and on not more than on one day in any week,
overtime to the extent of three hours may be
worked, subject to the payment of overtime at pro


rata^ and 6d. tea money. Notice of having worked
overtime must be given to the chief inspector, and
the reasons for working must also be stated."

4. According to the evidence given there does
not appear to be a large number of apprentices
employed in any trade, unless the young girls em-
ployed in the manufacture of cigarettes at the
average wage of 10/- per week be deemed to be
learners or apprentices. As they are at liberty to
leave at sJiort notice they might rather be termed
improvers. In view of the recommendation in a
subsequent paragraph for the appointment of
Wages Boards, your Committee does not deem it
advisable to go into the question of either the
number of apprentices to be allowed or wages

5. Except in the cases of the tailors working in
small workshops and the seamstresses, the hours
do not appear to be unduly long. Again, as far as
the hours are concerned it appears to be (except
in the cases of young persons and children as
enumerated above and seamstresses) a matter to
be decided upon by a Wages Board, the Committee
not feeling itself sufficiently conversant with the
requirements of either the masters or men to
make any recommendation.

6. In some of the large factories there appears
to be ample protection from machinery, in others
again no provision appears to have been made,
and 3"0ur Committee would strongly recommend
that regulations be framed to provide for :

(a) That all dangerous jDarts of machinery
must either be securely fenced, or be in such
position or of such construction as to be
equally safe to every person employed or
working in the Factory as it would be if it
were securely fenced.

(5) Every steam boiler used in a Factory or
Workshop must be examined by a competent
person at least once a vear.


((') No cliildi'Gn. Youiig persons or women
should be allowed to clean any dangerous
part of any machinery whilst in motion.

(d) There shall be reasonable means of escape
in case of fire. All doors of escape shall open
to the outside, and, if kept locked, the key
shall be in such position as to be easily
reached by those wishing to escape.

(e) The magistrate, on complaint of an
inspector, and on being satisfied that any
place used as a factory or workshop is in
such a condition that any manufacturing
process or handicraft carried on therein can-
not be so carried on ydthout danger to health,
life, or limb, may, by order, prohibit the use of
that place for the purpose of that process or
handicraft, until such works have been
executed as are in the opinion of the court
necessary to remove the danger.

(/) Any apartment where two or more persons
are at work preparing goods for trade or sale
should be registered as a workshop and come
under the regulations of a Factory Act.

{g) There should be a statutory limit to the
number of persons employed in proportion
to air space. The British Factory and Work-
shop Act of 1901 Chapter 22 provides as
follows : "A factory shall for the purpose
of this Act, and a workshop shall for the
purposes of the law relating to public health,
be deemed to be so overcrowded as to be
dangerous or injurious to the health of the
persons employed therein, if the number of
cubic feet of space in any room therein bears
to the number of persons employed at one
time in the room a proportion less than two
hundred and fifty, or, during any period of
overtime, four hundred cubic feet space
to every person." The Town Council of Cape
Town have a rule allowing, according to the
evidence of the Sanitary Superintendent of


the Cape Town Corporation, 300 cubic feet Q^^^'^^^^*
of air space to each, person ; it, however, does
not appear, judging by further evidence,
that the Municipal inspection of the smaller
workshops is as oíïective as it should be ; for
this reason it might be advisable to have a
clause in the Act, authorizing the Colonial
Secretary to appoint such Factory Inspectors
as may be necessary from time to time. If
on the other hantl the Municipalities would
undertake an adequate supervision of the
Act, it could be left in their hands, in w^hich
case it would be advisable that fees and fines
should go towards the Municipal revenue.
Due provision should be made for the proper
ventilation of all workrooms and factories.
Your Committee would call attention to the Q"®^- -^^*-
evidence of Mr. McKillo]), where he says :

" I was at the office for three years

and there the 'lino.' men work under condi-
tions which should not be allowed. There
are three men in a small room with six gas
jets burning in it, and the ventilation is
simply murdering."

7. Your Committee finds that in the case of
some trades, particularly tailoring, owing to the
system in vogue, there is undoubtedly a consider-
able amount of sweating. The custom of giving
out garments by piecework to sub-contractors to
be made up in their own homes has led to the
creation of a large number of small workshops,
where men, women and children labour under
insanitary conditions, making up clothing in small
rooms in which they both eat and sleep, and in
which the ventilation and air space leave much to
be desired, particularly where work is being
carried on at night, and both a paraffin lamp
and stove are burning in the room. There is no
doabt that in these places unusually long hours
are worked, very frequently until midnight, and

at times all through the night. The conditions
are not healthy, and must tend to produce an
undesirable class of people, weak both in body and
intellect. Working long hours at night with in-
sufficient light must also eventually weaiven their
eyesight. Moreover, it appears that it is not from
avarice or greed that these long hours are worked,
but these unfortunate people are compelled to do
this, owing to the conditions under which the
clothing trade is carried on.

On occasions they may be quite without work ; at
other times they are given work at 4 and 5 x^-m-,
and told that it is wanted next day, and if not
delivered in time " it is of no use." Your Com-
mittee believe this is done very frequently and is
due to a want of thought and consideration on the
part of the public, as well as of the foremen
cutters. On the part of the public, when they put
off from day to day ordering their clothing and
then rush in to their tailors and demand it within
a certain time ; on the other hand the foremen
cutters who often first cut out all the clothing
required for those working in the establishment, or
put OÍÏ cutting the outside work for some days
and only cut at the latest possible moment.

8. The remedy for this state of affairs would be :

(a) More consideration on the part of the

(h) Master tailors should decline to agree
to finish an order by a given time unless
they are satisfied that such order can be
completed during the regular working

(c) More consideration on the part of the
foremen cutters.

(d) An Act which would compel all clothing
to be made only in approved factories sub-
ject to proper inspection and control.

This might be considered a hardship, as it would
prevent many married women who now work in


their homes from augmenting their incomes.
However, from the evidence given, the workers
seem to be unanimously of opinion that such a
regulation would tend to better their position

9. Whilst having every sympathy with those
who are now compelled to work in their own
homes at night, your Committee is of opinion that
the system involves grave danger to the commu-
nity and that in the event of any ei^idomic in the
larger towms the results may prove disastrous.
Looking back upon the way in which epidemics of
small-pox, plague, etc., in past years took such a
rapid hold upon the City of Cape Town, it might
well be found, upon inquiry, that the existing
tailoring system was responsible to a large extent
for the difficulties met with in the endeavour to
confine and stamp out these diseases.

10. A system which compels men and women to
work unduly long hours in order to earn a living-
wage will and does undoubtedly prevent young
Colonials from becoming tailors, and the trade will
drift more and more into the iiands of an un-
desirable class of persons. From personal inspec-
tion, your Committee is of opinion that the position
of the out- workers in the tailoring trade is an
impossible one, and immediate steps are necessary
to remedy what is really a deplorable state of

11. Your Committee has experienced some
difficulty in procuring evidence from the seam-
stresses, it being stated that they were afraid
to come forward, but from the evidence given

by Mr. Salter and the one lady who does not _i(r?.
wish her name to be made public (your Committee, ono?. mia.
following a precedent set by one of the Australian ~^'''^-'-
Colonies in a public inquiry into sweating,
allowed this) it appears that the lot of the
seamstresses is in some cases very little better.
Having to work right through the day, w^ith one
hour for dinner, and then on to nine at night


without a break for tea, is anything but conducive
to the health of the future motherhood of this
country, and when that is done for hve nights in
one week, one cannot wonder that the unfortunate
seamstress should break down and be unable to be
at her work on the sixth day. Your Committee
can hardly credit that any iirm of repute would
knowingly dismiss an employee under such cir-
cumstances : it would in all probability be duo to
an irate foreman or forewoman who felt responsible
for the completion of certain work in a given time.
Your Committee has it in evidence that in certain

Ques. i(i8a. drossmaking establishments, whereas the outer

Ques. r„sia. (^Qors are closed at the regular hours, the seam-
stresses are kept at work indoors. It is probably
only because no public attention has been drawn
to this custom amongst certain firms that it is
carried on in the way stated. Your Committee
would strongly urge that there should be a limit
of five hours placed as the outside at which
women and girls should be allowed to labour con-
tinuously. There should also either be an allow-
ance for tea money or tea should be i:)rovided.

Appendix c. 12. It also appcars, from the evidence of the
feather sorters of Oudtshoorn that they are
working under undesirable conditions and that
better accommodation and more regular hours are
needed. Some means should be found of dealing
with the, dust arising from the feathers, which,
from the evidence of the witness, W. L. Yos (who
is described by the Town Clerk of Oudtshoorn as
a reliable man), causes serious injury to health.

Qu-.s. 314a 13. Cape Town has lately experienced a small
—392a. lock-out of somc of the cigarette workers, and
though a little while back there was a certain
amount of dissatisfaction in that trade, the dis-
satisfied workers have combined and under a
system of co-operation are manufacturing cigarettes
at such a profit that they are enabled to pay the
workers a higher wage and still retain an ample


14. Whilst the majority of manufacturers who
have given evidence have declared themselves in
favour of a Factory Act, though few of them
appear to have studied past Acts or know much
about them, one or two have stated that there is
no need for a Factory Act, as there are no Factories
here. Your Committee has had a return pre-
pared by the Cape Police, from which it appears Api^endix e.
that in Cape Town and suburbs alone there are no

less than 208 Factories where four or more persons
are employed in manufacturing articles for sale.
This does not take into account the tailoring and
other workshops previously described, where your
Committee has it, from two to six persons are
employed in the manufacture of clothing.

15. Taking all the evidence into consideration,
your Committee is of opinion that it would not be
advisable to delay the bringing in of a Factory
Act any longer. There are already a great number
of Factories in the larger towns of this Colony,
each year more are springing into existence, and
under the new Customs Tariff it is very likely that
there will be a considerable augmentation during
the next few years. It is deemed advisable that
besides controlling those already here, rules should
be laid down under which the new ones should
come into existence. This is not likely to prove a
hardship, but will enable manufacturers to know
exactly under what conditions they have to start
their business.

16. Of the different Factory Acts brought to the Appendix a.
notice of your Committee, it considers the
Yictorian one, which provides for the system of
Wages Boards, the best. The evidence of most of

the workers, who are acquainted with factory
legislation, is in favour of the Yictorian Act. Your
Committee would draw attention to the valuable _?4^a; ^^^*
evidence of Mr. Thomas Palmer, who has himself
been Chairman of several of such boards in


17. Your Committee has examined several wit-
nesses on the working of the Fair Wage Clause,
particularly Mr. Advocate Alexander, who con-
ducted the negotiations which resulted in the,
adoption of the Clause by the Corporation of Cape
Town, and is of opinion that both in the interests
of workpeople and as a protection for the honest
contractor the Clause, or one of similar import,
might be adopted in Government Contracts. It
would appear that no legislation is absolutely
necessary for this to be done, but it was pointed
out by the witness referred to that to embody the
adoption of the Clause in an Act would prevent
any future Government departing from it without
further consulting Parliament.

18. In conclusion, your Committee would urge that
any Factory Act introduced should be simple in
form, and whilst providing for the just requirements
of the workers, should not be unduly harassing
to the masters. A fair and equitable Act will,
your Committee feels assured, be to the great
advantage of both masters and men, and will
result in the betterment of the daily life of a large
number of people ; whilst under it, as in Yictoria,
manufactories will largely increase and continue
to prosper.


Committee Eooms,

Legislative Council,
17th July, 1906.




SELECT COMITE, aanoesteld op last van den
WetgeTendeii Eaad, gedateerd 30 Mei. 31 Mei
en 25 Juni. 1906, om onderzoek te doen naar
d^e wijze. waarop de Fabrieken in de Kaap
Kolonie worden gedreven, met het doel om
aan het licht te brengen :

(a) Of voorziening gemaakt wordt voor
genoegzame luchtruimte.
' (b) Of de gezondheids sehikkinoen voldoende

(c) Den ouderdom en het getal der leerlingen.

(d) Het loon betaald.

(e) De uren van arbeid.

(/) Voorziening ter bescherming van gevaar-

lijke machinerie.
(g) De invoeging in alle Gouvernements

Contracten van de Billijke Loon Clausule ;

het Comité macht te hebben om getnigenis in
te winnen, papieren te vragen. druk proeven
van getnigenis met het Comité van de Wet-
gevende Yergadering in zake de Fabrieken
Wet, te wisselen en te bestaan nit Col. Eayly,
Dr. Peteesex. de heeren Smith. Dempees
Pyott, Powell en Kohler (den Yoorsteller).'

Uw Comité, zorgvuldig overwogende hebbende,
de zaken in de termen van opdracht, is tot de
volgende gevolgtrekkingen gekomen :

1. Dat, in het geheel genomen. de lirooteie en
nieuwere Fabrieken goed worden bestuurd en
weinig te wenschen ovcrlaten. Inderdaad in het
geval van ten Fabrick, het Yereenigde Tabaks
Maatschappij Fabriek, in de Kloof Straat, is uw


Coniité van gevoelen dat dc voorwaardeii waar-
oiider het werk uitgevoord wordt, bijiia een ideaal
zijn eii nauwelijks kunnen wordon verboterd. Dit
Fabriek kan good als een model voor andere dienen
cn waar do employeerders zoo in liet oog loopend
hct gcmak van hun geeniployoerdon bestudeeren,
nioet zulks strekken niet alleen tot tcvrcdenheid,
maar ook tot een beter winst uit den arbeid ge-

2. In de groote meorderheid van gevallen, zijn
de gezondhcids schikkingen voldoende, alhoewel
uw Comité het in het gotuigenis opmerkt, dat in
soniniige gevallen er niet genoegzame Sekreten
zijn voor het getal handen geemployeerd, ook
wordt er niet behoorlijk zorg gedragen voor de
afzondering van de seksen, de Sekreten voor
niannen en vrouwen zijnde naast elkander en wor-
den door elkander gebruikt. Uw Comité is van
oordeel dat voorziening dadelijk belioort gemaakt
te worden, om dezen toestand van zaken te ver-
helpen en gelijk in de Fabrieken Wet van England
behooren er afzonderlijke ingesloten toegangen te
zijn voor mannen en vrouwen. Het blijkt ook
dat sonimige plaatsen zelden worden geveegd en
nooit gewit worden, ook worden de vloeren niet
gewasschen. In eenige Fabrieken AYet, ingediend,

1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12

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