Demands Put Forth by the Third Estate

The first provision required by the reformers relating to child labor was the observance of particular working conditions for employed children. Employers used to beat them to make the workers meet daily production norms without considering their actual working capability. They also suffered from a lack of food, health problems, and diminished growth. Therefore, the demands were aimed at creating a safe environment for children’s work.

The second measure was to establish the number of hours that a child was allowed to work, depending on his or her age. It was vital as they reported to the reformers to have worked for fourteen or even sixteen hours a day without rest. Some children lived too far from factories and had to stay there without food as they only had their breakfast with them. Even if they were given an hour in the middle of the day, it was not enough to get home and back to work.

The third provision required all of the employers to have documents certifying the age of children working at factories. This problem was one of the most critical issues as children would often start to work at the age of eight or even earlier. Moreover, the presence of workers’ documents was essential for establishing their working schedule as the number of working hours was defined by the age of workers.

The fourth demand was to develop a system of inspection to ensure the compliance of factories’ work with the regulations relating to child labor. The supervisors not only did not prevent the beating of working children but would beat them too. Their supervision could not improve children’s conditions, and it resulted in the need for another system ensuring workers’ safety. Hence, the reformers intended to create a separate agency that would not support factories’ policies.

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