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A very sad tale...............

Ken at Aero Leather

Well-Known Member
https://www.scotsman.com/news/2-500-knitters-unstitched-by-mimimum-wage-1-1382688

This has had a big impact on Scotland, it's indirectly affected Aero, the lady who organises our Hebridean knitters can't employ anyone any longer, our plan to have another range knitted by Inverallen has been scuppered and we've had to chose between having our Comforts Sweater hand knitted in India or by machine in Scotland, we've chosen the later

I'm totally in favour of a proper wage with no difference in gender pay, Aero's highest paid worker is a female machinist, not a male exceutive but the point here is most of these knitters are doing what they enjoy most, it's a hobby not a job, read some of the knitters comments.
One of our Fair Isle knitters didn't retire until she was nearly 90, she never used a pattern, every sweater she sent us was different, she refused to take any more ££s for her sweaters, her reasoning being she said she couldn't sit in front of the TV in the evening without her knitting and if it wasn't for Aero buying everything she made she wouldn't have anything to do in the evenings.

Sometimes it's about more than the money
 
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Obscurator

Member
Would it not be possible for the knitters to be self-employed, and producing something which is an item priced by the value of it, by the person that made it?
 

Ken at Aero Leather

Well-Known Member
Would it not be possible for the knitters to be self-employed, and producing something which is an item priced by the value of it, by the person that made it?
No, that far to sensible an idea for our politicians
As ridiculous as it sounds HMRC won't accept that which makes me wonder how anyone is ever going to be able to start up a new business.
I doubt very much if we made a single penny out of Aero in the first year's trading, looking back I should have been fined for not paying myself the minimum wage. Aero might have been a Mailbag producer rather than a jacket maker
Also I think most start ups take a lot longer than Aero to start making and £££s
I wonder when Google and Microsoft first went into profit, not in the first couple of years I'd bet?
 

Obscurator

Member
No, that far to sensible an idea for our politicians
As ridiculous as it sounds HMRC won't accept that which makes me wonder how anyone is ever going to be able to start up a new business.
I doubt very much if we made a single penny out of Aero in the first year's trading, looking back I should have been fined for not paying myself the minimum wage. Aero might have been a Mailbag producer rather than a jacket maker
Also I think most start ups take a lot longer than Aero to start making and £££s
I wonder when Google and Microsoft first went into profit, not in the first couple of years I'd bet?
I thought for a moment that HMRC had abolished "piecework". I'm sure there's stacks of information about it but, for example, the ACAS website has some info here http://www.acas.org.uk/index.aspx?articleid=4758. As usual, it's been lockstepped with NMW in the most abstruse and complex way anyone could produce and, as you make plain, the end result is that people working and producing in the UK aren't paid NMW, but end up being paid NAA (Nothing At All).
Bureaucracy+Politics+HMRC=Lunacy.
 

Ken at Aero Leather

Well-Known Member
Obscurator..................Isn't that always the way.........

I'd simplfy it, the simpler the legislation, the hard to find loopholes

As the late, great Joe Strummer said, Know Your Rights, there are Three of Them

1.Any homeworker using their own machinery can "pay themselves" what they like.
Any start up..............ditto

2. Any start up taking on their first proper employee who works in the start ups business premises should pay National Living Wage (And) that's a joke amount

3. Any employer with more that ...let's say 2+ employees.... should not pay anyone less than the National Minimum Wage and the NMW should be raised to £9 or even £10 a week and not be Gender based

................and here's the most important part

Any firm using blatent tax avoidence schemes, (there are many everyone knows who they are) will not be able to have workers on 16 hour week, nor on zero hours contacts nor be able to rely on Tax Credits to supplement the meagre wages most of these scumbags pay.

How can it be right that someone working "at the coal face" and paying tax on a pittance sees some of that tax being used to supplement the wages of shop floor workers at these multi National outfits while the CEOs are rubbing shoulders with some of the World's Top Ten Richest F*ckers

....................Phewww, back to my morning coffee
 
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STEVE S.

Well-Known Member
Sounds like you guys across the pond also deal with a government that is paranoid to the “Nth degree” about missing a penny of possible tax income. Then the greedy bastards piss it all away on things that never make a difference in anyone’s lives other than their own or their big political donors.
 

Ken at Aero Leather

Well-Known Member
Sounds like you guys across the pond also deal with a government that is paranoid to the “Nth degree” about missing a penny of possible tax income. Then the greedy bastards piss it all away on things that never make a difference in anyone’s lives other than their own or their big political donors.
You are SO right
It's probably another EU directive..................

High Viz politics are the order of the day, let the public see we are doing something (whether it works or not)

Wind turbines instead of the far more efficient Hydro for example
One can be seen for miles, the other blends seamlessly into the landscape
Short term thinking, look what happened in Hawaii when the grants ran our
 

Ken at Aero Leather

Well-Known Member
Well said, Steve. It's a shame that this old traditional (and others) are slowly fading out of existence.
The most rewarding aspect of my job is that over the last 50 years I must have personally trained several hundred folk how to make a garment, virtually all learning from scratch
Many of those have passed those skills onto others.
One day, long after I've flown the coop, these skills will be essential to the survival of the human race, even if it's only around this parish

After all here are only 3 essentials in life, and a "device" is not one of them

1. Something to eat
2. Somewhere to live (And just look where Blair & Clinton have led the populous? Thatcher did her bit too)
3. Something to wear

If I had to add a 4th it would be education
 

Ken at Aero Leather

Well-Known Member
We've just had the first batch of our new commercially made (in Scotland, of course) RAF Comforts Committee Roll Necks delivered, even though I say so myself they are absolutely brilliant, virtually indistinguishable from the hand knitted ones we've been making for a few years and at a saving to the customer of almost £100 each, retail on these is £165 and that's in the very best
10 ply Guernsey 100% wool, available in Air Force Blue and/or Natural

http://www.aeroleatherclothing.com/product-detail.php?id=818

RAF COMFORTS SCOTLAND.jpg

Comforts label 2.jpg
Comforts Scotland.jpg
 

Otter

Active Member
Ken, is there somewhere on line with a copy of the knitting pattern for those, my daughter fancies trying to knit one after she completes the lopi she is on.
 

Ken at Aero Leather

Well-Known Member
comforts pattern.jpg


Otter.
This is the one you need, we used this pattern for our hand knitted version. They show up on ebay quite often

B-Man2
Describe what you mean by turtle neck? There are so many interpretations of that term
The neck/collar on these is tall with a fold over, ie Roll Neck
Same as in the pattern, these are not to be confused with the dreadful RAF "Frock" sweater
 
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B-Man2

Well-Known Member
View attachment 12241

Otter.
This is the one you need, we used this pattern for our hand knitted version. They show up on ebay quite often

B-Man2
Describe what you mean by turtle neck? There are so many interpretations of that term
The neck/collar on these is tall with a fold over, ie Roll Neck
Same as in the pattern, these are not to be confused with the dreadful RAF "Frock" sweater
Ok That was my question , I just wasn’t sure of the terminology. The “Frock” neck was what I was referring to. I’m still not clear wheather the originals were “Fold Over” necks, “Frock “ necks or a combination of both. Can you clear that up for me?
Thanks
 

Ken at Aero Leather

Well-Known Member
RAF crews were "issued" with two very different sweaters

RAF Issue Frock Sweaters were commercially made and exceedingly ugly, very long, mid thigh to just above the knee, wide gaping neck about 2" to 3" tall with no fold over

RAF Comforts Sweaters were everything that the "Frock" wasn't, beautifully constructed practical garments, properly fitted with about a 6" collar/roll, ample to fold (roll) over or lift over the lower face for extra protection

Knitted garments and ‘Comforts' were an important wartime contribution towards kitting out members of the Defence Forces whether they were in the Royal Navy, RAF, Army or Auxiliary forces and for distribution by The Red Cross to Prisoners Of War.

Regulation clothing issue was basic and not always very comfortable and often failed to offer sufficient protection against harsh weather conditions.

Collectors of British service men and women's uniform are well aware that knitted comforts items are generally more typical of what was worn on the front line than issue items. Volunteer hand knitted clothing included gloves, socks, scarves, balaclavas and sweaters that generally were not issued with the uniform and were invaluable to the many prisoners of war.

Initially, when the Comforts knitting scheme was set up at the beginning of WW2, it was very much a fragmented effort within which individual women and households knitted garments to supplement clothing issued to local men in the forces. These ad-hoc volunteers were quickly integrated into the general Home Front organisation and their potential harnessed by the various wartime authorities to ensure more efficient supply, quality and upkeep of morale. The official line was generally that the ‘individual's reward was the satisfaction in knowing the men's appreciation'.

Anyone who could knit was encouraged to join a knitting group, officially known as parties, a word used to engender a greater feeling of solidarity. By April 1943, there were between 6,000 and 7,000 knitting parties across Britain All knitters were volunteers doing their bit for the war effort and given official recognition by way of certificates and badges

They used knitting patterns approved by both The RAF and The Admiralty, I've posted two examples of official patterns above. The wool, generally blue or cream, was supplied by weight free of charge to the individual households or official knitting groups. This was often carried out by the ladies of the Women's Voluntary Services
.
 

Ken at Aero Leather

Well-Known Member
Just noticed.........I wonder why it was only thruppence to get a RAF pattern in Scotland but four times that (a whole shilling) to get one in Englandshire? That would have bought a Fish Supper in Thurso!

Otter?
 
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