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of 10 hours. The pay for the minimum day's work varies in the different establishments, the average being about 5 pesos ($1.83). For each load in excess of the minimum number, additional pay ranging from 30 centavos (11 cents) to 50 centavos (18 cents) is allowed.
Day labor is the exception in the saltpeter industry. While employed to some extent in all branches of the work, experience has shown that the returns to employers under this system are smaller than under other methods of fixing the remuneration of workers, although the working-day is from two to four hours longer. The average daily wage of day laborers is stated to be 4.5 pesos ($1.64). Machinists, carpenters, blacksmiths, masons, and other artisans employed by the day receive an average wage of about 6 pesos ($2.19). Boys from 10 to 16 years of age are employed in some establishments, either as helpers to skilled artisans or to carry the tools of laborers. These boys work from 10 to 12 hours a day and earn from 2.5 pesos (91 cents) to 4.5 pesos ($1.64). All establishments furnish free dwellings to employees, the monthly rental value of which averages about 10 pesos ($3.65) for those occupied by single men and 30 pesos ($10.95) for those tenanted by families. In addition, meats and other articles of food are sold at reduced prices by the companies. It is estimated that these features are equivalent to an increase in the em ployee's earnings of about 25 per cent.
The fourth chapter of the report relates to methods of wage payment. The system in general use throughout the saltpeter zone is that of monthly settlements. Each employee is furnished a book in which are entered daily the quantity of work done and the corresponding amount of pay. Once a month the account is canceled and the amount of accrued earnings paid to the workman. This is usually effected by the use of checks of metal or other substance, called fichas, one side of which bears the name of the establishment or company and the other the monetary value represented. In actual practice, the ficha is a real medium of exchange, of limited circulation, which each establishment freely issues in proportion to the number of its employees. Beyond a recognized radius in each case, it possesses no value and is not accepted in commerce. The total value of these checks issued by the various companies is estimated at a million pesos ($365,000). On account of the numerous abuses which have arisen under this system, its suppression by the Government and the enactment of a law requiring the payment of wages in current coin of the Republic are recommended in the report.
Company stores (pulperias), in which food and other articles are sold to the employees of saltpeter works, are described in the fifth chapter. These are usually located in the same building with the company offices and comprise three departments: The meat market, the warehouse, and the salesroom proper. As a rule, the stores are
managed directly by the companies, and are operated at a considerable loss, because many articles of food and other necessaries are sold to employees at a price below that paid for them by the employers themselves. The fear of disturbing the existing harmonious relations with their workmen has caused proprietors to maintain the scale of prices established in former years, notwithstanding the recent general increase in the cost of the commodities handled. Articles of clothing, including those which may be regarded as luxuries, may be purchased at these stores at a price equal to or even lower than that charged by the shops of neighboring cities. Tables showing the relative cost of certain commodities in the company stores and in the shops of neighboring cities are shown in the report.
Following is a table showing the average cost of food at six company stores, at three stores in Lagunas, at two in San Antonio, and at three in Iquique:
PRICES OF VARIOUS ARTICLES OF FOOD AT COMPANY STORES AND AT STORES IN
LAGUNAS, SAN ANTONIO, IQUIQUE.
The next table shows the number of workmen at one of the plants for each of the first six months of 1908, their total average earnings, the average amount of their bills at the company store, and the average balance remaining to their credit at the end of the month:
EARNINGS, ACCOUNTS AT THE COMPANY STORE, AND MONTHLY BALANCES OF
WORKMEN AT A SINGLE PLANT, JANUARY TO JUNE, 1908.
! Production was reduced in April on account of the breakage of machinery.
The remaining chapters deal with the social and economic condition of workers and their families, including family expenses and savings, accidents, hospital and medical service, inebriety, prostitution, and reform in the administration of justice in the lower courts.
Undersökning af Kontors- och Handelsbiträdenas i Finland Förhål
landen. På uppdrag af Industristyrelsen. Helsingfors. 1909. 96, 168 pp.
This volume presents the results of an inquiry by the National Bureau of Industry into the conditions of employment of clerks and assistants in business offices and mercantile establishments in representative localities, urban and rural, in Finland, in 1907 and 1908. Banks and insurance offices were not included in the first group, nor pharmacies in the second; traveling salesmen were also omitted from consideration, as were other employees receiving more than 6,000 Finnish marks ($1,158) per annum.
The following table shows the number of establishments of the two kinds investigated, and the number and per cent of employees, by sex:
NUMBER OF BUSINESS OFFICES AND OF MERCANTILE ESTABLISHMENTS INVESTI.
GATED, AND NUMBER AND PER CENT OF EMPLOYEES, BY SEX.
This table shows a preponderance of male over female employees, taking both classes of establishments together; in mercantile establishments alone, however, the number of females is in excess of males. In every class of mercantile establishments except those dealing in hardware, etc., and the general class, the number of female employees exceeds the number of males.
The following table shows the number and per cent of employees grouped by ages:
NUMBER AND PER CENT OF EMPLOYEES, CLASSIFIED BY AGE GROUPS.
The largest single group of males is found between 15 and 19 years, while for females the largest single group is that between 20 and 24 years. Only 16.5 per cent of all males exceed 34 years of age, while but 9.6 per cent of the females have passed this age.
As to the conjugal condition of employees, 2,485 males were single, 960 were married, 18 were widowers, 8 were divorced, and for 14 it was not reported; of the females, 3,041 were single, 106 were married, 54 were widows, 13 were divorced, and for 33 it was not reported. Two males and 1 female entered employment at the age of 8
age at which the largest number of males entered service was 14 years, when 486 began work; the largest number of females began work at the age of 17 years. The following table shows by age groups the period at which the employees embraced in this investigation entered their service:
NUMBER AND PER CENT OF EMPLOYEES IN BUSINESS OFFICES AND IN MERCANTILE
ESTABLISHMENTS, CLASSIFIED BY AGE AT BEGINNING WORK.
Seventy-five and nine-tenths per cent of the male and 68 per cent of the female employees were at work before they had reached the age of 20 years. Only 4.7 per cent of the males began work after the
age of 30 years was reached, while of the females but 3.1 per cent entered service after this age.
The next table shows the length of service of employees:
NUMBER AND PER CENT OF EMPLOYEES, CLASSIFIED BY PERIOD OF SERVICE.
The period of service is evidently short, especially for females, more than one-half of whom had been employed for a term not exceeding five years; less than 3 per cent of the females served more than
Written contracts of employment were found to be but little used, only 62 males and 18 females in 39 places of employment having such contracts.
In considering wages and hours of labor, the two classes of establishments discussed are taken up separately. The following table shows the number and per cent of employees of each sex falling within the designated wage groups in business offices and in mercantile establishments:
NUMBER AND PER CENT OF MALE AND OF FEMALE EMPLOYEES IN BUSINESS OFFICES AND IN MERCANTILE ESTABLISIIMENTS, CLASSIFIED BY WAGE GROUPS.