Leicester Exchange, 28 October 1834: Thomas Ross takes on the Truck System. Part 2

Moses Pegg and Thomas Ross were not deterred by their failure to pursue their case of payment by truck the previous week and returned, sober, to the Leicester Petty Sessions  on 28 October 1834. Pegg got in first with information against two or three sellers of squibs and crackers sold to his agents and therefore liable to a penalty of £5. However his main purpose that day was to support Ross in his claim.

Ross took the stand and stated that when he had applied for work in 1831 Barsby, the foreman, had said that he kept a shop for his employer Bankart. Barsby enquired whether Ross was a married man and would he take part of his wages in goods. Ross agreed to this, took the job and was regularly paid in both goods and coin until the 18th of October when he was stopped seven shillings and ten pence ha’penny from his wages. Alderman Brown asked if Ross were that much in debt and was he making this complaint because the money was stopped. Ross agreed that this was the case and further explained that all the goods he could get from the shop were provided at a higher price than was available to him elsewhere. His regular purchases there were bread higher by a penny a loaf, coffee by a penny an ounce, tea by three halfpence and butter by four pence ha’penny a pound.

The Magistrates checked back on the legislation and found two possible remedies where payment in kind could be shown to have taken place. The first was to fine any employer making use of the practice; the second to summon the employer and recover the amount paid in goods. In this case both were applied for: the first by Ross and the second by Pegg.

However, that day the Magistrates were not prepared to decide the case, calling for ‘the proper particulars to be ascertained’ before they could decide on a response to Ross’s case. Pegg underlined the consequences of payment by truck which he said was common among bag hosiers and a great injury both to the workman and to honest shop-keepers.

It was to be another week before the case could be heard again.

The Leicester Chronicle: or, Commercial and Agricultural Advertiser (Leicester, England), Saturday, November 01, 1834

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