Women munitions workers at George Kent Ltd, 1916 [Z1306/75/17/20]
(Caption reads: "We are helping those who are helping us")
Monday 30th August 1915: As more women and girls are being employed in the munitions industry companies have new issues to address. George Kent’s Hydraulic Engineering Works at Luton have issued a memo setting out how matters of discipline are to be divided between the forewoman and the charge hand in each fuze department. Demarcation between the men’s and women’s roles has been proving a source of contention. In future the following rules are to be observed:
- All matters of discipline will be dealt with by the forewoman, and any causes for complaint which a setter may have should be reported to the charge hand, and by him to the forewoman. In no suh cases should either the setter or the charge hand deal direct with the girls. The forewoman should, however, inform the charge hand of her proposed action in the matter, and hear his views before any action is taken.
- In the event of any girl displaying lack of care or want of effort on any operation, the setter must report her to the charge hand, who may himself speak to the girl and show here the right way to do the work. If, however, he wishes any action taken in the matter, such as the removal of the girl, he must himself report the matter to the forewoman, who will then take the matter up with the girl. The setters themselves have no other duty than setting the machines, and seeing that they are running properly. Beyond such brief instructions as is necessarily involved they are not expected to talk to the girls at all.
- All matters relating to the running of the shop, that is the actual operations in the shop, should be dealt with by the charge hand. In the event of his wishing to make any change in the girls on different machines, or deciding to run any section of the shop unusually late, he should first inform the forewoman and hear her views before any action is taken. This is only so that the forewoman may receive proper notification of any change that takes place, and may have an opportunity of pronouncing on the physical fitness of any girl for any particular operation. Apart from this, the forewoman has nothing whatever to do with the arrangement of the work or the allocation of the girls.
Source: George Kent Limited Archive