Tuesday, 17 March 2015

Luton Corporation Grants a Pay Rise

Luton Police Force c.1910 [Z1306/75/21/29]

Wednesday 17th March 1915:  A decision was taken at a meeting of Luton Town Council last night to increase the wages paid to Luton Corporation employees due to the increase in the cost of living brought about by the war.  The increases, which were backdated to start in the week ending on March 5th, were granted on the assumption that the current high prices for food would continue, and will be reconsidered in six months time. The Mayor said that the Committee were guided by the principle that they should help the men earning the least money, for men earning 25s per week were in a worse position than those earning 35s or £2; these employees were to have a bonus of 2s per week. Councillor Briggs objected to the resolution on the grounds that there were 19 men who should qualify for the increase but were not going to get it, and proposed that these men should all get one shilling a week. His amendment was not seconded and the original proposal was passed.

The foreman of the scavenging department was given a permanent increase of 5s per week.[1] He had not received a rise for three or four years and had not had a Sunday off for eighteen months. The female attendants at the baths received a 3s per week increase. It was also decided by the Watch Committee to increase the pay for each member of the police force to the maximum for his rank in view of the increased cost of living.

The temporary increases given to the various Corporation employers were as follows:
  • General employees – 2s per week
  • Highways depot (masons, carpenters, fitters, bricklayer, wheelwright, painter, and horsekeepers) – no allowance as the men were already receiving at least the local rate of wages
  • Second horsekeeper – a permanent increase of 2s per week
  • Lamplighters and employees at sewage pumping station – 2s per week
  • Sewage farm - certain old men 1s per week, others 2s
  • Stokers at refuse destructor – 2s per week
  • Sanitary depot labourers – four old men and one temporary labourer, no allowance; others 2s
  • Parks department – 2s per week, with the exception of the park-keeper, whose position was recently considerably improved
  • Public conveniences – no allowance
  • Market attendant – 2s per week
  • Stoker and attendant at baths – 2s per week (female employees dealt with specially by Toll Committee)
  • Steam roller drivers – no allowance
  • Blacksmiths – 1s per week
  • Shoeing-smith striker – 2s per week
  • Scavengers – old men, no allowance; four scavengers and two labourers 2s per week; three scavengers transferred to general labourer class at 3d per hour with 2s per week allowance
  • Yardman – 2s per week
Source: Luton News 18th March 1915

[1] Scavengers were street cleaners employed to clear manure from the streets. 

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