The Co-operative Society – working condiditons

Bob McArthur

‘Before government legislation changed conditions regarding Union membership and pensions, new employees had to join a union applicable to their job, and join the superannuation fund. Wages were paid at Union rates, and the working week gradually reduced from 44 hours to 39 hours. Staff were full time. Holidays comprised two weeks in summer, increasing to 4 to 5 weeks annually with length of service added. Employees began work at 14 years of age until the school leaving age was raised to 16. Originally, retirement was compulsory at 65 for men, 60 for women. Protective clothing was provided for certain trades (Motor mechanics, engineers) – not for others. Eventually all employees were supplied with overalls.’

Bob McArthur was an employee of the East Lothian Co-op Society, 1950-1991:

1950-1955 Tranent – gents’ clothing
1955-1959 Davidson Terrrace, Haddington [‘Roodlands’ branch]- branch manager and dry goods
1959-1974 Duns – branch manager
1974-1989 Haddington – drapery
1989-1991 Port Seton – dry goods