As a kid in Bradford in England, the area that I grew up in was not too wealthy and this included my family also! As a kid, me and my sister got the occasional treats from my parents but not too many! On a Saturday Morning we went to the 6 Penny Saturday Matinee at the local Cinema where we watched things like Roy Rogers, The Lone Ranger, Tarzan and of course, Pathe News! This was in the 1950’s.
Every Kid at that time dreamed of having some sort of job in order to get a bit of spending money but not too many were lucky and managed to get one! These jobs for kids were really Voluntary Slavery for the kids but for the tiny salary the kid received, it was worth it!
My first job was as an Assistant News Paper Delivery Boy. I was I think 6 years old at the time. My duty was to help the big Paper Boy and my Mum made me a special smaller paper bag so that I could help the Big Boy carry some of the news papers which were heavy! We delivered papers to over 100 houses, my own house included but we still had to pay the delivery charge for our paper! This period in time was when radio news was available but television was rare so newspapers were the best method of getting the news and the finished newspaper could be used in the toilet!
I did this job, 6 days a week, every day after school come rain, shine, snow or any other stuff that the British Weather could throw at us! My starting Salary was One Shilling per Week which is only 5 Pence in today’s money! At times, I assisted the Sunday Paper Boy especially when there were free inserts in the papers making his load very heavy, I got 2 Shillings for this extra work!
When I was I think 10, I took over the complete Paper Round as the normal Paper Boy went to Senior School and was unable to carry on, My sister got a Paper Round at the same time. My Salary increased to 7 Shillings and 6 Pence which to me was a fortune so I was happy! Now I could afford a few things I wanted and could save up a to buy a few gifts for birthdays etc! When I moved to Senior School, I had to give up the job as I would be home too late to deliver the papers in the time the customers required so suddenly I was jobless!
Not long after I lost my Paper Job my Dad took me to see a friend of his who had a chicken farm with about 2,000 Battery Chickens for Egg Production, also Turkeys for the table! I got shown around the farm and introduced to how to feed and water everything, collect and record the eggs and of course clean out the bodily waste from the birds. I saw no problem with this and the next day, after school I started work, 7 days a week for 15 Shillings, wow, a fortune!
A problem with this job was that in winter time it was dark when I got home from school so I had to walk or Bike over a mile to the farm up a very steep incline! I did well on the job and learned how to Kill, Pluck and Dress the chickens and turkeys and this was an extra payment, 5 pence per chicken and 10 pence per turkey! Christmas was a really good time with lots of killing but Mum used to bath me with vinegar in order to kill the lice from the birds! An extra bonus on this job was that I could take cracked eggs home so I always made sure that there were cracked eggs!
When I was 14, my farm job finished and one week later, at 15 I started my first real job as an Apprentice Panel Beater, A Car Body Repairer, I really liked this job but I worked in Brighouse which was about 30 minutes on a bus then a 15 minutes walk to the work site but unfortunately I spent half of my day making tea and going to town to buy sandwich’s for the workers! my basic salary was just below 4 Pounds a week but with the transport I made about 2 pounds a week which was pretty poor but standard pay for an apprentice!
I changed jobs a couple of times but still had to make tea and go to the shops which did not make me very happy and with lots of overtime on my last job I was paid only 8 Pounds, I was not happy at all!
One morning I was going to work but for some reason I got on the bus going into Bradford and went and Joined the British Army, Royal Engineers and on the 1st April 1970 I went for training, free food and accommodation and best of all, my salary was 10 pounds and 6 pence which was a fortune! My life changed for the better after this and my salaries got bigger so no more slave labor for me!
People complain about what they call child slavery but in the very poor countries the small income that the child workers can bring home does help the mothers to feed the whole family! Until families learn not to have too many children then unfortunately children will always be working for very small salaries!