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The data shown in the above tables, as well as in the general tables which follow, do not include returns regarding agricultural laborers, seamen, and railroad employees, which are separately treated in the report.
CHANGES IN RATES OF WAGES. --The unit adopted for comparison is the rate of wages for a full week's work, exclusive of overtime, at the end of 1899, compared with a similar week at the end of 1898.
During the year 1899 the wages of 1,175,576 persons were affected by wage changes, 1,174,444 of whom had their wages increased and but 1,132 suffered a reduction. The net result of these changes was an aggregate rise of £90,905 ($142,389) per week, compared with £80,815 ($393,286) in 1898 and £31,507 ($153,329) in 1897: The net increase per week per employee affected by changes in wages was 1s. 6 d. ($0.375). While the number of persons who had their wages increased in 1899 was greater than that returned in any previous year, the number in whose case the changes followed strikes was the smallest on record, namely, 34,273, or 3 per cent of the whole. In the case of 53 per cent of the employees considered, the changes were the result of direct negotiation; in 32 per cent, of arbitration, mediation, or other forms of conciliation, and in 15 per cent, of the automatic action of sliding scales.
The following table shows, by industries, the number of changes in the rates of wages in 1899 and the number of employees affected:
NUMBER OF INCREASES AND DECREASES IN WEEKLY WAGES, AND EMPLOYEES
AFFECTED, BY INDUSTRIES, 1899.
As in the previous year, the most prominent feature of the changes in rates of wages in 1899 was the rise of miners' wages, the group mining and quarrying showing a total of 666,588 individual employees whose wages were increased, while none suffered a reduction. Wages in the textile trades were increased in the case of 232, 23 employees and decreased in the case of 231. In the groups of mining and quarry ing, building, and employees of public authorities, all the changes reported were in the nature of increased wages.
The net results of these changes in rates of wages during a period of years are shown by industries in the following table:
AVERAGE INCREASE IN RATES OF WAGES, BY INDUSTRIES, 1894 TO 1899.
While the number of persons affected by increased wages was greater in 1899 than in 1898, the average net increase in wages per employee was slightly lower. The industry group of metal, engineering, and shipbuilding shows the greatest increase per employee, namely, 2s. 77d. ($0.634). The slightest net increase per employee occurred in the group of textiles, namely, 6d. ($0.122). The groups of building trades, clothing, and employees of public authorities show an unbroken succession of net increases in rates of wages for each year of the period.
Owing to the difficulty in obtaining returns of the precise number of persons affected by changes in wage rates in the case of agricultural laborers, railway employees, and seamen, these groups have been separately considered in the report.
In the case of ordinary agricultural laborers in England and Wales, information was obtained mainly from the chairmen of rural district councils regarding the current rates of weekly cash wages in January and June, 1899, and these rates were compared with those returned for corresponding dates in 1898. The returns thus received were exclusive of piecework earnings and extra payments or allowances of any kind. They showed a continued improvement in the wages of agricultural laborers. The districts in which an increase in wages was reported for 1899 contained 195,191 laborers, while the number of laborers in districts where wages declined was but 248. The total net effect of these changes was an increase of £6,169 ($31, 481) per week, or 8d. ($0.162) per head, the same increase as in the preceding year. The reports from Scotland showed an upward movement in wages, though the movement was not sufficient to affect the predominant rates paid. In Ireland but few changes were reported, but where they did take place they resulted in increased wages.
The rates of wages of seamen were based upon returns furnished by superintendents of the mercantile marine in the various ports of the Kingdom. The monthly wages on steamships show the following increases: Able seamen, from 79s. 3d. ($19.28) in 1898 to 82s. 8d. ($20.11) in 1899, or 3s. 5d. ($0.83); firemen and trimmers, from 8ts. 2d. ($20.48) in 1898 to 87s. 2d. ($21.21) in 1899, or 3s. ($0.73). The monthly wages of able seamen on sailing vessels increased from 56s. 7d. ($13.77) in 1898 to 59s. 10d ($14.56) in 1899, or 3s. 3d. ($0.79). The rates of wages given are in addition to food.
The information concerning railway employees is shown in the form of actual earnings, as the remuneration is usually regulated by graduated scales of pay rather than by fixed wage rates. It is intended to indicate the total effect of all changes in the earnings of railway employees, whether arising out of real changes in the scale of pay, ordinary advances under existing scales, or overtime or short time. Returns are published from 29 companies, employing together over 90 per cent of the railway employees in the United Kingdom. The returns summarized in the following table cover the number of employees and the average wages for the first week in December of each year from 1896 to 1899 in the passenger, freight, locomotive, and machinery construction departments:
AVERAGE WAGES PAID RAILWAY EMPLOYEES IN 29 COMPANIES, FIRST WEEK
DECEMBER, 1896 TO 1899.
The average wages of railway employees show a gradual rise during the four-year period. The average weekly wages paid by the 29 companies during the first week in December, 1899, was 25s. 3d. ($6.14), an increase of 7}d. ($0.147) over the average for the same week in 1898.
CHANGES IN HOURS OF LABOR.—During the year 1899 a smaller number of working people had their hours of labor reduced than in 1898, although the net reduction per week per employee was greater in 1899. Of 209 changes in hours of labor reported in 1899, all but 4 resulted in a reduction. The hours were reduced in the cases of 33,349 and increased in the cases of 2,600 employees. The net reduction in the hours of labor per week per employee was 3.54 hours, as compared with 2.10 in 1898, 4.03 in 1897, 0.73 in 1896, 1.94 in 1895, and 4.04 in 1894.
The following table shows for the years 1894 to 1899 the number of employees affected by changes in the hours of labor, classified according to the extent per week of such changes:
EMPLOYEES AFFECTED BY CHANGES IN HOURS OF LABOR, BY EXTENT OF CHANGE
PER WEEK, 1894 TO 1899.
The number of working people who obtained an eight-hour day during 1899 was 3,316, of whom 2,297 were employed in private establishments and 1,019 were employees of public authorities. There were no reversions from an eight-hour day to longer hours of labor.
The following table shows, by industries, the number of changes in the hours of labor and the number of employees affected during the
NUMBER OF INCREASES AND DECREASES IN HOURS OF LABOR, AND EMPLOYEES
AFFECTED, BY INDUSTRIES, 1899.
Of the 35,949 persons affected by changes in hours of labor in 1899 10,063 were employed in the building trades, but the net reduction per week per employee was smaller in that than in any of the other groups of industries. The four changes resulting in increased hours of labor occurred in the groups of building and mining and quarrying.
PIECE PRICE LISTS AND SLIDING SCALES.-During the year 1899, 19 new piece price lists were agreed to and 9 old lists were amended or extended. The lists which are given in the report were for occupations in the metal and shipbuilding, textile, boot and shoe, tailoring, printing, wood-working, glass-bottle, and basket and brush making industries. New sliding wage scales are given for steel workers and blast-furnace men. The report also contains a list of working rules, mutual agreements, piece price lists, sliding scales, etc., in operation in 1899.
Report on Standard Time Rates of Wages in the United Kingdom in
1900, with Comparative Tables. xii, 210 pp. (Published by the Labor Department of the British Board of Trade.)
This report was prepared in continuation of the volume on standard time rates, which formed Part III of the first report of the Labor Department on wages and hours of labor, published in 1894. The changes in rates of wages and hours of labor which have taken place since the publication of the report of 1894 have been published monthly and annually by the British Labor Department, and have been reviewed from time to time in the Bulletin. The present volume represents the net result of these changes in many of the more important trades and localities up to the beginning of 1900, and thus forms a fresh starting point for use in the study of future publications of changes in wages and hours of labor. The standard rates of time wages with which the present volume deals are those rates which are recognized as applicable, usually as minimum rates of pay, to the remuneration of a considerable number of employees in the industries and localities given.
The statistical tables which constitute the bulk of the present report show, for each occupation and locality, the standard rates of wages and hours of labor recognized on January 1, 1900, in the building, engineering and shipbuilding, printing and publishing, cabinetmaking, and boot and shoe making trades, and by gas stokers, police constables, and seamen; the rates of wages recognized on January 1 of each of a series of years in the building, engineering and shipbuilding, and printing trades, and by seamen; the percentage variations of wages of coal heavers, ironworkers, and cotton operatives during a series of years, and the average wages and earnings of agricultural laborers, cattlemen, and shepherds in 1898. The report also contains a list of working rules and other documents regulating wages, hours of labor, and other working conditions in 1900.