Impact of Industrialisation

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Roughly 200 years before the 1960 people were involved in agriculture. The people worked in farms. The women made cloths spinning wheeling and sewing. They also baked bread from locally grown corn, brewed the beer, salted meat for winter and sometimes helped in their fields. Men made nearly all their own equipment, for example axes, shears knives, wagons and carts. They used stone and chalk for buildings cottages and barns. Every village had one or two crafts men for special jobs, such as a blacksmith, potter, joiner, weaver.

Children had to help as soon as they were strong enough to hold a broom or carry timber. Work was hard; they were up by dawn and to bed at sun down. Rural housing was very primitive. Village lived in hovels. Cottages were tiny, perhaps one living room and one bedroom for the entire family. The ceiling was low, with small windows, which had to glass; the floor was beaten earth, probably covered with straw. Around the 1750 machinery where introduced and many jobs in factories were available. This meant that many people moved from the countryside to the city.

Britain becoming an urban society, this change from 1700-180o was the industrial revolution. These jobs were in very poor conditions, the working hour were long, starting from 530 hours to 1930 hours, with two breaks a day for six days a week. In their breaks they were expected to clean their machines, however the machines were never stopped but just slowed down for the cleaning. The factory work was exhausting and difficult. The hours of labour were long and they had no holidays, various children also worked, in these poor conditions and for long hours as everyone else.

The wages were not high but the advantage was that they would rise. For the first fifty years working practices changed very strongly, although there were laws passed to project workers they were difficult to enforce. The growth of trade union however helped to change this. Workers were now able to join a trade union and to negotiate with the employer through collective bargaining. This meant union official could negotiate improvements in members’ pay and working conditions.

This also helped to form the labour party this meant that in the future parliament passed employment laws that gave employees protection. These continue to grow until 1980s. During the 20th century work practices have changed dramatically. In the first half of the century people were affected by the two world wars. By 1955 most people were either employed in the manufacturing (40%) or the service industries (45%). Those who worked in factories had poor, working conditions, which were appalling, long hours for little pay.

The relationship of employer and employee was one of the conflicts. Long hours at factories prevented leisure time, but now they had shorter hours of work, which developed modern leisure activities. Production had been moved from agriculture, to factories and machines. However in the 1950 mass consumption grew, when factories and machinery led to the production of cheap article on a large scale. Eventually this caused a decline in prices. Now the majority of the population owned articles previously known as luxuries.

Large numbers of workers drawn together, in the factories and towns of poor conditions, led to the growth of political activity, particularly the development of the Labour Party. The factory owners replaced landowners and leaders of the Conservative Party. Colonies had been exploited for raw materials, leading poverty to the third world, which created a sense of racial superiority, which led to a pattern of immigration to Britain in the 1950s. The growth of cities, with slums and social problems of poverty and crime, and later the need to improve conditions, led to redevelopment and New Towns.

As well the growth in population in the cities, with large numbers of people living together led to the improvement of public hygiene. Advances to medicine occurred and the standards of living improved health standards and lowed death rates, therefore people lived longer. Modern, fast means of transport, first the railways and much later cars, led to travel, holidays, suburbs, commuting and eventually the development of factories away from towns. The prosperity brought by trade and industrialisation lead to a huge expansion in the Tertiary Sector.

As the economy expanded, services, for instance banking, building societies, insurance, accountancy and stocking grew as well as increasing demand meant a range of services grew. Therefore to keep pace with the increasing demands of the Welfare State Government services also grew. Telephones, typewriters, telegraphing and more recently computers all technology innovations, meant there was as growth in office work and office space to support business and government. Women also found more work in a range of office work, during the 20th century mainly in the lower status clerical work instead of management.

The “office boom” in the 1960’s, had offices competing for space in the centre of cities, usually in prestigious locations. Having a high rise office blocks grow up in city centres. Followed by a growth of offices in out of town locations where offices space was cheaper, for example from expensive office blocks in London, to office blocks in Croydon, which is 10 miles away. In the following 20 years, computers and computer storage now replaced typewriters and manual storage of information, as well as much smaller and much cheaper microprocessor has made automation more widespread.

Office workers now needed to be trained in the use of software packages to be run on computers. Information can now be transferred over distance between computers through the telephone system. Computerisation meant fewer workers are needed and also the demand for office space had decreased. Automation is the process where machines produce items with only a minimum of supervision by workers. Usually the machines have been programmed to repeat the same task to a high standard of accuracy, and can even reject items, which are not of the required standards.

For example the welding machine, which is used in car production to perform a number of welds in set spot to car bodies as they pass along the production line. Another example could be micro ships in computer and calculators, which allow machines to be controlled by computer to undertake highly skilled, routine tasks reaching a highly output of high quality. This leads to manufacturing a car with automated machinery, needing only a few workers. In offices, too, tasks like typing have been made easier by word processing.

The use of computers to generate and store information for wide variety of uses is known and information technology. Computer-aided manufacturing (CAM and Computer-aided design (CAD) are the latest method of automated production in which design, manufacturing and management are all linked electronically and aided, or controlled by computers. For example CAM in the process industries such as paint manufacturing computers control the temperature and the rate of flow. As well in engineering, computer program machines to drill holes in metal to the precise depth required.

Computer-aided design (CAD) makes it possible to design products on the screen of a visual display unit. This avoids having to build expensive models of bridges or aircrafts and makes the design process much quicker and cheep, with possible chances of retouch. Computer Integrated Manufacturing (CIM), the combination of both CAM and CAD developments. The labour force can often be cut 90 per cent with output the same. Machinery can also be cut back and quality control improved. Another advantage of CIM is flexibility.

It is possible that the mass production of a single product on assembly lines may disappear. With a return to batch production with these flexible manufacturing system making a variety of parts and products with much less waiting time between process than there was in the past. Automation is neither good or bad it just depends on how it’s used. It would be good for society if workers are moved too more interesting work, or if they are given greater leisure with income to enjoy it.

However automation is simply replacing both skilled and routine workers, making them unemployed. Those people who do remain employed are likely to fall into two categories: those engineers, managers and scientists, and secondly those workers needed to supervise. It can be seen then that automation can free workers from the drudgery of boring work and produce a wide rage of high quality articles at low prices, as well as offerings new services. But it could also lead to mass unemployment disliking and lower wage.

There is a growing demand for people who are prepared to be flexible about the hours they work. The government thinks that flexible working will lead to more jobs. However it is still uncertain business. A third trend involves the increasing participation of women in the labour force. Although women are paid generally less than men their pay has risen, and the opportunity cost of not working has also risen. As well as opportunities to work have improved, for example employers looking for sources for cheaper labour have created more opportunities for part time work.

Development of new computers and telecommunication technology over the past twenty years has opened up the possibility for many other types of workers to spend at least part of their working life based at home. This type of work relies on information technology is called teleworking. Teleworking options widen the range of choice for individuals and business, it enhances flexibility in working time and methods, it gives more people the opportunity to work, it can create jobs in remote areas and it can help British businesses maintain their competitiveness. All size businesses use teleworking.

The business and financial services sector, the media industries and the public sector use teleworking in virtually every industry. The conservative government responded to public anger over strikes and introduced laws restricting the union activities. Unemployment and decline in the manufacturing industries that formed the traditional base of the union have reduced union membership. The increase in part-time jobs and women working has also had an impact on union membership. In the past there were not strong supporters 1980s had an increase on people starting small businesses, which were not all unionised.

All those reasons made the union membership fall from 1979 onwards. They improved their services and more relevant to today’s world. They offer member loans mortgages and insurance, some produced credit and discount shopping cards. There are four types of union. General union represents workers in a range of industries, whose members include drivers, warehouse workers, hotel, employees and shop workers. Craft unions represent workers who share a particular skill, whose members are workers in the printing, paper, publishing and media industries.

Industrial union represent people in a particular industry whatever their skill. White- collar union represent clerical and professional workers, whose members are journalists in print and broadcast media. Unions are there to support their members when they are made redundant. Therefore some union provide grants for college courses or arrange programmes of retraining in areas such as computers. They also provide representation for members in case of redundancy, grievance, disciplinary hearing and legal action.

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