Work of apprentices in the factory - Factory Building No. 22

Date 1926–0
Architect Breník
Code Z4
Address J. A. Bati, Zlín
Public transport Public transport: Dvacátá (BUS 38)
GPS 49.2236122N, 17.6582394E
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Factory building No. 22 was built in 1925–1926 in three storeys with a reinforced concrete frame construction. The building used poor quality aluminium gravel from Dřevnice, and as a result it soon faced construction and technical defects. Parts of the ceiling slabs had to be replaced and cracks on the expansion joints had to be reinforced with wooden supports. Static failures were intensified by the dynamic effects of the shoemaking machines and by the regular overloading of the ceilings. Insufficient insulating properties made it difficult for workers to stay in the building. In the outbuildings, where the sanitary facilities were located, the walls were damp, the plaster peeled off the walls, and the bricks crumbled due to frost damage. Complaints also came from the workshop located on the second floor, under the roof. Employees had to endure temperature changes not only in different seasons, but sharp fluctuations occurred even during a single shift.
Shoes were made on each floor of the building. On the ground floor there was uppers and bottoms work, where leather was cut for all leather parts of the footwear, and on the other two floors women's and children's footwear was produced - casual, fashion and, in the case of women's footwear, also working shoes. It was in similar workshops that young men and young women worked in many standard positions. Before deployment, they worked in special workshops at a slower pace.The training was carried out under the professional supervision of male and female instructors. Throughout the apprenticeship, young people acquired all the knowledge of the whole technological process of their industry so that graduates could carry out any of the planned activities.
Despite the continual promotion of "manly" manual labour, apprentices often applied for administrative work. The repeated bans on employing apprentices in the workshop management testify to the fact that representatives of youth and business management had different ideas about their careers. It was not easy to successfully manage the assigned amount of work. The industrial age significantly changed working methods compared to previous times. Young men and young women had to learn precise time schedules, adapt their bodies to machine production, and learn from the company manuals to schedule motor movements for each workflow. Good timekeeping was a crucial factor in acquiring the mandatory habits, rules, order, and powers that had been practised around them and on them.
A working week consisting of 40 hour workflow physically depleted the bodies of all employees, including the young. A two-hour lunch break, and two shorter ten-minute breaks, were used for immediate physical regeneration and recharging one's batteries. The less fit used it to make up for the time delay and prepared the material for upcoming work. Regarding the pace of work, demands for accuracy, but also the failure of machines, many memoirs contain recollections of the shouting in the workshop when the production belt had to be stopped because an employee was lagging behind the pace. Evidence stored in employee cards further show that shouting was far from being the only means used by the masters and managers to resume operations. Physical insults occurred despite the fact that they were punished by high financial penalties, suspension of bonuses or, in more difficult and repeated cases, the granting of forced leave for one or more weeks without entitlement to wages.
The two-hour lunch break, dividing the shift into two parts (7: 00-12: 00 and 14: 00-17: 00) was only in place in the 1930s. It was introduced on 9 July 1934 with the shortening of the current five-day week from 45 hours to 40 hours. After the occupation of the Czech lands, in response to the introduction of war production, a two-shift operation was introduced, which significantly influenced the daily schedule of the higher years of the Baťa School. Initially, it was possible to keep a 40 hour working week at least for the young employees. In the calculations of business managers we find this record to introduce a two-shift operation:
I. shift (times)
Number of hours
II. shift
Number of hours
Free time
Breakfast, getting dressed
(Source: Moravian Provincial Archive, Brno; State Regional archive, Zlín, collectionBaťa a. s. Zlín, sign. II/5, file. 1187, inv. no. 9 – direction Young Men at Shift, Zlín, 4 April 1940)