1939 Report on Labour and Labour Conditions in Hong Kong

Tymon Mellor has sent the following report published on 11th April 1939 on Labour and Labour Conditions in Hong Kong. The author was Mr HR Butters. Sessional Papers 1939, Papers laid before the Legislative Council of Hongkong 1939.

HF: The Hong Kong Memory Project introduces this report with the following: –

The 65-page report was prepared by the first Labour Officer in Hong Kong. It consists of 12 chapters.

The first three chapters gave an overview of the political situations of China and Hong Kong respectively from the 1910s to 1930s, and the historical, cultural and social connections between the two places.

Chapter 4 and 5 summarised the history of social legislation in Hong Kong and the related legislation for handling labour strikes, contract and emergency.

Chapter 6 to 10 detailed the general working conditions in the Chinese factories [ but meaning in HK], the livelihood of workers and the wage levels of various types of workers in different industries.

Chapter 11 described the background, the jobs and the living standards of 20 workers of various classes who had supplied information of their jobs and standards of living to the Labour Officer.

In the final chapter, the Labour Officer provided his recommendations to improve the labour conditions in Hong Kong. 

1939 Report on Labour and Labour Conditions in Hong Kong


  1. http://www.hkmemory.hk/collections/prewar_industry/topics/topics/index.html
  2. http://www.hkmemory.hk/
  3. Hong Kong’s ‘gig economy’ of 1960s and ’70s – when off-site piecework was a family affair SCMP 14th September 2018

This article was first posted on 7th June 2014.

Related Indhhk articles: Child Labour in Hong Kong – 1920s


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