23 SEPTEMBER 1882, Page 3

The shop assistant s in East London hope to carry a

plan of closing earlier on Thursday, but are told by the Times that they idle, dle, and do not sufficiently define the limits of their demand. 'The last remark may be true, but the shopmen'e grievance is both real and severe. There are 120,000 assistants employed in second-rate shops, of course on somewhat low pay ; and Mr. J. A. Stacey, secretary to the Early Closing Association, declares that thew usual hours are from 7.30 a.m. to 9.30 p.m. on five working days, and till midnight on Saturdays. That amounts to fourteen hours a day as the minimum stint of labour, almost all of it performed standing, and sixteen hours on Saturdays —a most oppressive modicum of work. If as much were demanded of artisans, the country would ring with their com- plaints ; but the army of " assistants," "clerks," and. the like, are as powerless as the need.lewomen who make cheap mantles at two shillings a dozen. Will anybody tell us why the masters, who are almost as much injured as their shopmen, do not com- bine to shut at seven, except on Saturdays ? They would not, if they left the difficult Saturday question alone till wages were paid, as they ought to be, on Monday, lose a shilling a week.