Coventry Cycle Trade: Female Wage-Slaves Oust Males.
Those who know Marx’s assertion that improved machinery leads to the employment of an ever lower strata of labour, will read the following from a Capitalist paper of Aug. 31, with interest :
“More men are out of work in Coventry at present than for many years past, having been displaced by female employees, who have even been set to work upon small capstan lathes and wheel building. The greatly extended use of automatic machinery and the standardisation of patterns has simplified much of the detail of cycle manufacturing, and the prices cf piecework have fallen accordingly. The amount of unskilled male labour in the cycle trade has been reduced to a few hands. The skilled mechanics are now feeling the pinch, many having been out of work all this year.
“The price-cutting war has made it absolutely necessary to reduce the cost of production.
“Girl’s average wage is 15s., and as the watch and silk trades have greatly fallen off, girls are plentiful.
” A local manager says extended female employment gives satisfactory results and will be further developed, there being a number of parts upon which they can be. profitably engaged. For male labour the outlook is very gloomy.”
(Socialist Standard, September 1904)