Today in Labour History
Work Hours on a Voucher
Robert Owen was the "father" of the Co-operative movement. One of his creations in 1832 was the National Equitable Labour Exchange. This was a mutual exchange system for workers' products and services. A voucher for 40 work hours was issued on July 22 1833 as a method of payment. By that time the Labour Exchange had already been forced to change its address in London following a grim conflict with the owner of the original premises. At its second address in Charlotte Street matters fared no better. In 1834 the enterprise closed, and Owen had to make up a deficiency of 2,500 pounds. The idea behind the labour exchange, however, emerges time and again in many places.