Page images

labor until 8 o'clock in the evening, sometimes till 11 o'clock, and sometimes longer. The length of their working time depends upon the amount of work on hand. However, they never cease to work before 8 o'clock in the evening. Their average sleeping time is from 12 o'clock in the night to 7 o'clock in the morning. There are no fixed dinner hours, and workwomen usually dine at their leisure hours. The external girl appren. tices have strictly fixed working days; they labor from 9 o'clock in the morning till 6 o'clock in the evening, if there are no dinner hours, and they labor to 7 o'clock if there are dinner interruptions.

During quite as many hours are also at work the skilled girls and their assistants. During the busy season workwomen are at work one or two hours longer, for which they receive no additional wages. In laundries the washerwomen begin their work at 6 o'clock in the morning, and cease to work at 8 o'clock in the evening; having no fixed dinner hours, they usually eat when the statı of their labor allows it. As the work women smoothing linen are paid per day and have their work allotted, it is therefore difficult to determine the number of hours of their labor, which at all events is of some twelve working hours. Workwomen paid per piece, if they wish to earn more, endeavor to labor as long as possible, and consequently the length of their working day is of nine to fifteen hours, according to quantity of work.

In book-binding establishments the labor begins at 7.30 o'clock in the morning and ends at 8 o'clock in the evening, which gives eleven working hours per day. The night labor lasts from 8 o'clock in the evening to 5.30 o'clock in the morning. In factories of paper bags and capsules there are ten and a half hours of true labor and one and a half of dinner hours.

In factories of paper boxes, stands, &c., the labor lasts during nine. and-a-half hours, not including one-and-a-half hours for dinner. Sometimes when there is plenty of work the working day is longer by three hours. Iu photographing establishments the working day during the winter season lasts from 9 o'clock in the morning to 4 o'clock p. m., and if the day is dark it lasts till 3 o'clock, while in the summer season it lasts till 5 o'clock afternoon uninterruptedly, therefore the minimum working day is of six and the maximum one is of eight hours, and in the latter case workwomen are permitted to eat during their labor time. Some workwomen in summer labor two or three hours longer and thereby they earn the additional wages per piece.

In factories of perfumery and toilet soaps the labor begins at 7 o'clock in the morning and lasts till 7 o'clock in the evening, with one hour din. ner interruption. Frequently, however, the working day is longer by two or three hours.

In tanneries the working day begins at 6 o'clock in the morning and ends at like hour in the evening, with half an hour interruptions for breakfast and vespers and one hour for dinner. In summer when there is much work the labor lasts even during twenty-four hours.


The factory workwomen are generally held in bad opinion, even by other work women; a seamstress, for instance, looks upon the factory work woman as being a debased woman; and it is really so. A young girl of about twelve years enters into a factory; there she hears the bawdy discourses of men, laboring together with women or overseeing the latter. On her going out of a factory she is not anfrequently searched by men, who sometimes touch her willfully, in a very rude manner, jesting with her at the same time. The girl comes to her maturity and her sexual instinct is constantly excited. No sooner than she grows ripe than all lies alreally in wait for her, and her own blood becomes her enemy.

A workmaster will give her work by which she can earn little if she will not become his mistress; in the latter case her wages will be higher if she labors per piece. When such a girl enters once upon this road a step only separates her from the worst. Of late years the town of Lodz has distinguished itself in this respect, as a considerable number of work women come from that town to Warsaw as prostitutes, all being young girls of sixteen to twenty years.

Last year at Lodz a manager of a factory intended to commit a rape upon a young workwoman, and as the giri resisteil, he expeiled lier together with her father, employell in the same factory, and consented to receive them again just in the moment, when the girl, in the presence of all male and female laborers, asked pardon and kissed the very tip of his boot by his order. It is easy to understand what intluence hare similar adventurers upon the morals of the factory work women. Let us add to this their inisery, and we will be persuaded that almost every work woman must become a clandestine prostitute. And it is really so. Workwomen of tobacco factories increase their earnings by means of prostitution. Seamstresses, tower-making girls, and milliners, be ing out of employment, are forced into ways of shame, and at the close of each season a considerable number of them enter their names on the list of public prostitutes. The physical state of work women presents itself very sadly if we examine the sanitary conditions under which they labor. Flower-making establishments being usually the most common private dwellings, are unfit to contain a greater number of laborers. There are no ventilating arrangements, nor any sanitary measures ob). served. In winter the work women of such establishments are hardly perinitted to open windows of their almost umbeated factory rooms. In summer, notwithstanding a burning heat, they are forbidden to open the windows looking into the streets, in order to prevent the dust from sinking on flowers; when the female laborers make the crimson red flowers a kind of dust from such flowers gets into their eyes and ears, and during one or two days they continually spit a crimson red dlust. The rooms of these establishments are damp, and always contain a greater number of laborers than their space and sanitary condition would permit.

The air is full of a dust from various stuffs, a bad smell of fire pans, a dust arising from the striking of flowers, a disagreeable odor of ani. line dyes, &c. In winter the rooms of tlower-making establishments are either unheated at all or only occasionally. The bad smell of fire. pans causes headaches. The continual stooping over work is attended with breast and neck complaints. The eyes suffer from the selection of color shades. Consiunption is the cominon disease among seamstresses and flower-making girls.

Workwomen of tobacco factories are likewise liable to the same dis. ease, as they continually breathe tobacco. Some ten or more years ago the police authorities ordered the introduction of respirators for the use of work women in tobacco factories. Complying with this order, they purchased one respirator for a certain number of laborers, but it was good for nothing, as work women could use the respirators only by turns, and besides they had an aversion to apply to their mouths an object which was bespawled by others, consequently the respirators soon disappeared from tobacco manufactories. The iron-smoothing women in laundries labor in the midst of a terrible heat. To this let us add the continual standing on their legs during their whole working day and a bad smell occurring frequently in laundries. It is therefore no wonder that they all have corns on their feet, longer and more fre. quent monthly courses than other women, and that they have crooked tingers from holding the smoothing-irons, pains in their arms, and particularly in the right one, and that the consumption and cold-catching are the most common phenomena among them.

Workwomen polishing the bent furniture are, during their entire working time, almost literally drunk, being under the influence of spir. its used in polishing, and they also feel great pains in their shoulders from strong hand-rubbing.

Photographing workwomen complain of pains in their heads, eyes, necks, &c., caused by continual stooping.

In perfumery factories workwomen suffer from constant beadaches, as even a fifteen-minutes' sojourn in such factories causes headaches, while the odor of spirits intoxicates. The opening of windows is forbidden in order to prevent perfumery from becoming rapid.


If there is in this country as yet nothing done for the improvement of the condition of workmen, therefore, what then can be said of workwomen in this respect ? Nobody here occupies himself with this matter. The work women do not belong to the trade guilds, hence it follows that in case of some unexpected emergencies they receive no relief, except the married workwomen, who, during sickness, obtain it from the factories in which their husbands are employed.


The local factories, especially the smaller ones, are for the most part built in such a manner that in case of tire it is easy to escape from them through their windows if it is impossible to do so through their doors, though sometimes, in sweetmeats factories, for instance, the windows are supplied with a thick wire net in order to prevent work women from throwing sweetmeats out of the windows. As regards the securing of work women from the dangers arising from the labor about machinery, it is to be observed that there are in this country no means provided for their safety and no special laws enacted.


As no factory legislation exists in this country, consequently employ. ers make no provisions in regard to the sick and disabled work women. In case of an accident they only give immediate medical help, the expenses of which are usually paid by employers. Sometimes they pay even the expenses of curing of their workwomen.


During the last five years the wages have generally increased, as it is proved by the figures given in the article on the wages of workmen. The wages of workwomen have likewise increased. As to the prices of the necessaries of life the following price list of Petrokow will show their increase during the last ten years, viz:

[blocks in formation]

The last one-day census of Warsaw for 1882 states that this city in that year had 201,602 women, of whom 9,348 were able only to read; 80,664 could read and write, and 111,590 women who could neither read nor write.

The latter number, of course, represents the poorest classes of the population, who for the most part become workwomen.

Generally the educational condition of women in this country is worse than that of men; as for the male apprentices, there exist the Sunday working schools, wbile for the female apprentices there are in this country no such schools.

To render the foregoing report on the male and female labor more complete, I beg to submit the following statistical tables embracing the largest factories, mills, workshops, &c., of Poland, and showing the rates of wages paid to their workmen, viz:

[blocks in formation]

* And board.

[merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][ocr errors][ocr errors][merged small][merged small][ocr errors][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][ocr errors][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small]

Hages paid per week of sixty-three hours in the flour steam mill in Warsaw belonging to

Mr. S. G. Bloch.

[blocks in formation]


Tager paid per week of sixty hours in the foundries, machine-shops, and iron works of

Wessrs. Lilpop, Rau & Loewenstein, at Warsaw.


Lowest. Highest. Auerage.

$2 10

4 50


3 00
3 90
3 00
1 50
2 40

4 50

3 00

3 90

4 50

« EelmineJätka »