The above letter of dismissal is a good example of how female employees were forced to move aside for male workers when they returned from the war.
Women’s employment had been revolutionised by the conflict, as it was necessary to replace the large numbers of men that were called up. Co-operative societies across the country were involved in this shift but it was not without its issues. Women were often paid less, which led to concerns that they would undercut male employment. The Women’s Co-operative Guild campaigned for equal pay to solve this problem and also in the name of equality and fairness.
The recommendation letter below is dated around two weeks after the first letter. It shows that the Kirky-In-Ashfield Industrial Co-operative Society, near Nottingham, was full of praise for Miss Griffett, and the work she had done whilst employed as a “substitute.”
WWI co-operative voices
This post is part of ‘WWI co-operative voices’ which shares the stories of co-operative workers and members during the conflict. In order to mark the centenary of the WWI, the Rochdale Pioneers Museum is staging an exhibition entitled ‘From shop floor to front line’ and the accounts of these soldiers, shop workers and conscientious objectors will run alongside it. They are tales of death, duty and of those who chose not to fight.
Through ‘WWI co-operative voices’ we will be releasing new posts about these individuals throughout the duration of the exhibition (due to open mid-May 2015 and run until May 2016). Read about the co-operative movement’s involvement in a war that shook the world by selecting a name from the column on the left. You can also follow us on social media for regular updates.
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We wish to thank the Heritage Lottery Fund for supporting the ‘From shop floor to front line’ exhibition and project.