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Twelve bodies ceased to exist last year, including the 120-year-old General Union of Loom Overlookers.
Some young women in Bradford, however, confronted abusive overlookers individually.
(43) Female cotton weavers in Lancashire feared losing their jobs and turned to family and kin to confront weave room overlookers, called tacklers, who sexually abused them verbally and physically.
Female spinners, facing faster speeds and additional frames to tend, cursed their young tormentors among the bobbin boys but feared sexual harassment from overlookers or senior foremen.
The tasks of driving young workers and paying them fell to the spinners' immediate supervisors, the spinning room overlookers. But firms throughout Lancashire had difficulty in finding qualified overlookers; and, since many of them were paid by the week, they did not have the incentive to see that work got done quickly.
Contemporary spinning manuals commented on the failure of overlookers and managers to supervise operations.(58) The setting and regulating of mule speeds were left in the hands of the spinners, providing them the opportunity to hide from employers how hard they could in fact work.
Lazonick's evidence is from the testimony of workers and overlookers in the Reports of the Factory Commissions of 1833.
This at a time when the pay for the elite of textile workers, the overlookers, was 28 to 30 shillings a week (pounds 1.40 to pounds 1.50) and the worst paid, the female carders were on 12 shillings (60p).
The cohesiveness of the komplekt frustrated the power of overlookers, made it all but impervious to the application of individual piece-rate payment, and late in the decade enabled it to reproduce itself in the politically more respectable guise of shock brigades.