On May 12th the case for the abolition of night baking from the operatives' point of view was placed before the Committee appointed by the Government to investigate the subject under the chairmanship of Sir WILLIAM MACKENZIE. MR. BANFIELD, the General Secretary of the Union of Operative Bakers, Confectioners and Allied Workers, said there was a general demand for legislation prohibiting night work. Bakers looked old before their time, and the Chairman of the Richmond Tribunal had stated that no baker passed A1 had ever been before him. Witness urged that new bread was not so important as the health of the night worker, although new bread could be supplied under a system of day work. The only ground for night work was that it was in the interests of certain employers, but he said that 80 per cent. of the employers had enough ovens and plant to carry on a system of day work. He suggested the prohibition of night baking between the hours of 11 p.m. and 5 a.m., with legal provision for an extension of the prohibited hours at intervals. He added that 90 per cent. of the operative bakers would prefer day work. Continued night work was bad for the health of the baker. The returns showed that the rate of mortality from bronchitis among working bakers was abnormally high. This was due to the constant change from a heated atmosphere to a cooler one. The mortality from phthisis was slightly higher than the average, while the figures for suicide were considerably higher than the average Replying to the Chairman, MR. BANFIELD said that there need be no increase in the price of bread if night baking was prohibited, as any expense which might be occasioned to the employer could come out of the profits the employer now put into his pocket, instead of using it to extend his plant. His experience was that the bulk of the bread was not sold till late in the afternoon. Witness desired the abolition of the order prohibiting the sale of bread less than twelve hours old. He said that if the order was rigidly enforced it would itself solve the problem of night baking. He did not think, however, that there was sufficient justification for continuing the order, which, in his opinion, should be revoked and replaced by an enactment prohibiting night‐baking. The order, he said, was fairly extensively ignored, simply because, in his opinion, the local food committees refused to prosecute, or would not inspect. MR. CANNON, the owner of fifty bakers' shops in working districts of London, declared that the waste of bread resulting from the order prohibiting the sale of bread less than twelve hours old was enormous. The Food Controller in introducing the order, had introduced a new business—the stale bread industry, which consisted in the buying up of stale bread. He was not prepared to say what was done with it but it was not being used as bread. A strike of bakers would be futile as it would simply mean that housewives would bake their own bread, and after a little practice they would do it better than any baker.
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