AT A TIME when many of today's well established industries were just beginning to make their mark on the industrial scene, young workers were making a similar impact through the unions and the TUC.
In the later years of the decade a number of strikes of apprentices took place in the engineering industry and as a result the Amalgamated Engineering Union took the affairs of young workers out of the hands of the master to whom they were indentured by gaining negotiating rights for them with employers.
The TUC at this time was on a similar tack. In 1937 the General Council successfully put a number of amendments to the Factories Bill before it got to the House of Commons which led to the working hours of the 14 16 age group and women being reduced by eight hours to 40 a week. In the same year a Congress resolution prompted the General Council to draw up a "Youth Charter" which was put to the Trades Union Congress at Blackpool a year later.
The first man to speak on it was aptly suited to do so. He was a 20 year old delegate who alone represented his union - the wheelwrights and coachmakers. He stressed that the youth of Britain "must not enrol under the banner of fascism as they do in Italy and Germany".
The Charter called for minimum wage rates, a 40 hour week, annual holidays, abolition of overtime and night work for workers under 18, adequate insurance benefits for young workers without a means test, and time off for technical training.
This page http://www.tuc.org.uk/the_tuc/tuc-3225-f11.cfm
printed 18 May 2013 at 13:20 hrs by 18.104.22.168