Workers in Textile Revolution

639 Words3 Pages
Working conditions in some early British textile factories were unfavorable relative to modern standards. Children, men, and women regularly volunteered for 68-hour work weeks. Factories often were not well ventilated and became very hot in the summer. Worker health and safety regulations were non-existent. Textile factories organized workers' lives much differently from craft production. Handloom weavers worked at their own pace, with their own tools, and within their own cottages. Factories set hours of work, and the machinery within them shaped the pace of work. Factories brought workers together within one building to work on machinery that they did not own. Factories also increased the division of labor. They narrowed the number and scope of tasks and included children and women within a common production process. As Manchester mill owner Friedrich Engels decried, the family structure itself was "turned upside down" as women's wages undercut men's, forcing men to "sit at home" and care for children while the wife worked long hours.[19] Factories flourished over manual craftsmanship because they had more efficient production output per worker, keeping prices down for the public, and they had much more consistent quality of product. The work-discipline was forcefully instilled upon the workforce by the factory owners,and he found that the working conditions were below the national average, and poverty levels were at an unprecedented high. Engels was appalled and his research in Derby, played a large role in his and Marx's 'Das Kapital'. At times, the workers rebelled against poor wages. The first major industrial action in Scotland was that of the Calton weavers in Glasgow, who went on strike for higher wages in the summer of 1787. In the ensuing disturbances, troops were called in to keep the peace and three of the weavers were killed.[20] There was continued
Open Document