Trade Board Act 1909
It is a serious national evil that any class of His Majesty’s subjects should receive less than a living wage in return for their utmost exertions. Sir Winston Churchill, 1909
The Trade Board Act of 1909 set out to ensure that workers in low paid industries received a fair deal. It created boards that would assess industries and establish minimum wages for them that were legally binding. This prevented employers in industries where there was a surplus of workers offering employment on the basis of who would accept the lowest wages.
The Act initially covered chain-making, ready-made tailoring, paper-box making, and the machine-made lace and finishing trades. In 1912 a Board was established under the act for the coal mining industry. Later, other industries gained a board. In 1918 the Trade Board Act was updated to incorporate a wider range of industries.