Thursday, February 19, 2009

工業革命說安全

工業革命使大英帝國國運昌隆,同時也帶出嚴重的社會問題,特別是童工的安全與勞工福利問題。 蓋因童工身體靈巧,適合在狹窄的空間工作,如在織布廠的車間作維修,穿插於礦洞作煤炭工人,或作煙囪清潔工等等,全屬是高危的工種。

適齡兒童不在學校讀書,倒在工廠礦洞埋頭苦幹,這會否動搖國本呢? 不知道啦。 不過卻因為童工的待遇惡劣,死病傷枕藉,引起英國政府的關注,於是制定了第一代的勞工 (童工﹖)法例,名曰 Factories Act,時為 1802 年。

Factories Act 1802

  • Factory owners must obey the law.


  • All factory rooms must be well ventilated and lime-washed twice a year.


  • Children must be supplied with two complete outfits of clothing.


  • Children between the ages of 9 and 13 can work maximum 8 hours.


  • Adolescents between 14 and 18 years old can work maximum 12 hours.


  • Children under 9 years old are not allowed to work but they must be enrolled in the elementary schools that factory owners are required to establish.


  • The work hours of children must begin after 6 a.m., end before 9 p.m., and not exceed 12 hours a day.


  • Children must be instructed in reading, writing and arithmetic for the first four years of work.


  • Male and Female children must be housed in different sleeping quarters.


  • Children may not sleep more than two per bed.


  • On Sundays children are to have an hour's instruction in the Christian Religion.


  • Mill owners are also required to tend to any infectious diseases.


  • 由此觀之,當年英國童工之生活與在集中營的真是相差不遠。

    香港曾是英國的殖民地,法律當然是借鏡宗主國啦,這二百年前的英國《工廠法》在現行香港的《工廠及工業經營規例》中仍留有一鱗半羽的模仿痕跡,頗具玩味,至少於我而言。

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