Click here to return to the main site entry page
Click here to return to the previous page
Rushden Echo, 2nd September 1910, transcribed by Peter Brown
Shop Assistants’ Union
Rushden Branch Support The Shops Bill
Better Conditions Demanded

A meeting under the auspices OF THE Rushden branch of the National Amalgamated Union of Shop Assistants, Warehousemen and Clerks was held near the Post Office, Rushden, on Tuesday night, when a good audience gathered. Mr J Robshaw Brooke (chairman of the Rushden branch) presided, supported by Mr Johnstone, of Wellingborough (chairman of the East Northants Labour Party) Mr St Clair Bedford of Kettering and Councillor W Bazeley, Rushden.

The Chairman said they had met there under the auspices of the Shop Assistants’ Union to place before the public their position with regard to the Early Closing Bill which was now before Parliament.

Mr Johnstone said that a meeting like that seemed to prove to him that shop assistants were coming out of the rut in which they had been so long. The shop assistants of Rushden – he proceeded – have so much confidence in themselves that they are not afraid to place their views before the public.

Rushden Will Want To Know

what it has to do with the shop assistants of Rushden. In the past the general public has been in the main responsible for the long hours that shop assistants have to work. They say: “That shop keeps open for such a time, therefore there is no hurry, because I can go there.” And quite unconsciously they are keeping the shop assistants at work. If the public came early to do their shopping there would be no trade for other shopkeepers that kept open. ... ... ... interested in the shops bill is because of our prevalence of consumption among shop assistants. This comes mostly through working long hours in unfit places. Consumption is very prevalent among shop assistants, and the fact that these people handle the clothes you wear, make it to your benefit so see that the shop assistants live under better conditions. In the past the shop assistants did not know the value of agitation and combination, but they are

Beginning To Wake Up

Now, and the Shop Assistants’ Union is beginning to do good work.

Mr St Clair Bedford, in explaining the Shop Assistants’ Bill (No. 2), said it was divided into three parts. The first part dealt with the hours of employment. The Shop Assistants’ Union wanted a 60 hours’ week inclusive of meal times, and it has put down an amendment to that effect. The rest of this part deals with closing time, how many knights they would work after 8 o’clock each week, overtime, etc. The next part dealt with the closing of shops. The Bill said that every shop should be closed for the serving of customers not later than 2pm on one day every week, but the Union had put down an amendment for all shops to close at 1 o’clock. This part of the Bill also dealt with

Sunday Closing

Every shop should close on Sundays, with certain exceptions. Every person ought to have one full day’s holiday a week. The third part might not seem so important, but nevertheless it was a very important part. It dealt with the seating, ventilation and sanitary conveniences in shops. They wanted one chair for each three female assistants in a shop. It was necessary for the shop assistants to have a little rest during the day. In the interests of health it was necessary to have proper ventilation and sanitary conditions. There was a great difference between the present Bill and the Bill of 1904. They wanted the Bill passed so that all local authorities could make early closing compulsory.

Mr Bazeley they wanted to make things

Easier For Shop Assistants

He thought the shopkeepers were like the manufacturers; they were frightened if they saw one shop opened a little longer than their own.

A resolution to the effect that the meeting approved of the Bill now before Parliament was moved by Mr Bazeley.

Mr G Wingrove (secretary of the Rushden branch of the ASE) seconded, and it was carried unanimously.

It was decided to send copies to the Prime Minister, the Home Secretary, and Sir Francis Channing.

Click here to return to the main index of features
Click here to return to the History index
Click here to e-mail us