Warsaw (Feb. 1)
Jewish shopkeeping circles in Poland are becoming very anxious about a new scheme in connection with the Government move to bring about a reduction of prices, for factory owners to open shops in connection with their factories where their workmen would have to make their purchases, part of their wages being paid out to them in bonds valid only in these particular shops.
A series of conferences in the interests of this scheme have been held at Lodz, Bialystock, Bielsk, and other industrial centres, attended by prominent industrialists and representatives of the Ministry of Labour.
One of the biggest Jewish textile manufacturers in Poland, Oscar Kohn, who employs thousands of people at Widzew, near Lodz, where most of the population are employed in his factory, has already introduced the system, with the result that acores of Jewish shopkeepers have been deprived of the whole of their custom.
Many of the factory workers are dissatisfied with the new system, declaring that they prefer to have their wages paid in full in cash, so that they can buy wherever they wish, without being bound to any particular shop.
The main object of the Truck Acts in England is to make the wages of workmen payable only in current coin of the realm, and to prohibit whole or part payment of wages in food, or drink, or clothes, or any other articles; and to forbid agreements, express or implied, between employer and workman as to the manner or place in which, or articles on which a workman shall expend his wages, or for the deduction from wages of the price of articles (other than materials to be used in the labour of the workmen) supplied by the employer.
The Shops Clubs Act of 1902 is closely allied with some of the provisions of the Truck Acts by its provision that employers shall not make it a condition of employment that any workman shall become a member of a Shop Club unless it is registered under the Friendly Societies Act of 1896.