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The problem of training and recruiting skilled labour has attracted much localconcern but the introduction of machinery and mass production created a surplus ofskilled men in some trades, as, for instance, in die-cutting for the jewellery trade, and attempts have been made by some craft unions to restrict entry. The BrassTrade Arbitrations of 1900 and 1907 indicate that mechanization and the organizationof the trade were creating the 'process' worker — a man skilled at only one processand unable to do the complete range of jobs even in a section of a trade, and that manyskilled men were forced to work at wages below the minimum under the journeymanunderhand system in the trade. The new trades like cycles required machine minders,sometimes women, rather than skilled men. This was merely a continuation of thetrend started in the pen trade. In engineering it was found that over the whole countrythe number of semi-skilled workers as a percentage of all workers had increased from20 per cent. to 45 per cent. between 1914 and 1926, while the number of skilled hadfallen from 60 per cent. to 40 per cent. and unskilled from 20 per cent. to 15 per cent.

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Standards of Living 1815-1850: Rise or Fall? | HISTORY …
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9 Reviews of Auto Trade Solutions

In the edge-tool industry (spades, hoes, chisels, and similar articles) in Birminghamand the Black Country there were by 1914 some six firms monopolizing the trade,employing between 200 and 700 workers each, the small firms having become lessimportant since 1880. In Birmingham, for example, Robert Mole and Sons, one ofthe two firms able to undertake government sword contracts, employed 100 in 1894; John Yates and Company 400 in both 1864 and 1891; and Ralph Martindale andCompany, who had changed over from making guns to making cane cutters and thelike after 1870, 300, plus outworkers, in 1911. They have since become the proprietors of Robert Mole. These were among the largest firms in the trade.

Economic and Social History: Industry and Trade, 1880 …

The picture in the motor industry shows a similar trend to the cycle trade exceptthat its recent progress has far outstripped that of the languishing cycle trade. Largeand small plants have succeeded in existing side by side but the vast majority of theoutput now comes from the few large producers. In 1914 the typical firm couldemploy from a few hundred to a few thousand workers. The largest concern inBirmingham, the Austin Motor Company, employed about 800 in 1907, 10,000 in1927, 14,000 in 1934, and 18,500 in 1948. In 1934 1,500 cars were produced aweek; weekly output in 1960 reached 6,758 cars from a labour force not proportionatelylarger. In 1949, in Birmingham and the Black Country, 26 plants employed 42,283workers, six of these plants taking 28,638 workers between them in plants of over2,500 workers each. There were, however, still four plants employing under 100workers. Large scale methods in this industry, therefore, entailed the employmentof a few thousand rather than a few hundred workers, quite apart from a huge investment in capital equipment.

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