The Truck Acts and Cider for Farm Workers

  • 15 Jan 2012
  • Worcester People and Places
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Rural life changed fundamentally between 1880 and 1914. The custom of deduction to wages in lieu of drink was in wide disfavour. In Worcester, Temperance Societies were actively campaigning against the supplying of beer and cider in the hay and harvest fields as part payment of wages. The Truck Acts of 1831, 1837 and 1896, arose from the so-called truckshops, owned by employers, at which they paid wages in the form of goods or services. A mass meeting of farmers at the Crown Hotel, Worcester, in 1901, appealed to the Home Secretary against the application of the Truck Acts in relation to supplying cider to farm workers. There had been a number of convictions for the giving of cider as part payment of wages. The appeal had little effect however, and from this period, the custom of a daily cider allowance died out.