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Tuesday, February 24th, 2009 at
1:32 pm and is filed
The following is a little snippet of an ordinary man’s history that was recently found by a friend in a pile of forgotten correspondence. It was passed from one (blood) brother to another to show what some (blood of the workers) brothers got up to on the Ford factory floor in deepest, darkest Slough, back in what I’m guesstimating to be the late 70s.
I thought was worth preserving/publishing.
(Enjoy/share the following transcript by all means, but please also take the time to appreciate the effort that went into the original notice and many notices like it; desktop publishing is a luxury that too many of us take for granted, and typewriters don’t have an ‘undo’ function or a spell checker.)
PHASE 1 WALK-OUT
THIS IS A STATEMENT BY WORKERS FROM PHASE 1 B SHIFT WHO HAVE TODAY (WEDNESDAY) WALKED OUT FOR 3 DAYS IN SUPPORT OF THREE FELLOW WORKERS
Three weeks ago on Phase 1 Minor Line (B Shift), a brother was ordered by his General Foreman to start work without gloves or wear a dirty pair that the General Foreman had picked out of a bin. The brother refused to start work without a clean pair as was one of the 5 dirty jobs one the line that always have got a clean pair of gloves at the start of every shift.
The brother then asked to see a shop steward, but this request was refused. Instead he was told he was off pay and had lost his supplement. While all this was going on, his foreman, who did not know what had happened – was getting clean gloves as he did every morning. When he came back, he issued the man with clean gloves. The brother put them on and started work.
Then the General Foreman came back – ripped the new gloves off our bother’s hands and told him to wear a dirty pair out of the bin. The brother again refused and management called in a senior steward from the next line. This steward agreed he shouldn’t wear a dirty pair and advised him not to start work without clean gloves. The brother was then issued with a clean pair – but he was told he was being disciplined.
For the next 2 weeks at the beginning of every shift, this threat was repeated: wear a dirty pair or be disciplined. As the line had no steward at this time, one was elected. But straight away he was given the same choice – wear dirty gloves or be disciplined.
The shop steward also refused to start without a clean pair. So he was given a clean pair, but also told that he was being disciplined. Management then decided that the first brother was to be given a 3 day suspension and our steward was to be sacked. Meanwhile, before an appeal he was suspended on pay.
After two nights, management changed it to 3 day suspensions for both brothers to be taken Wednesday, Thursday and Friday this week. The Convenor asked fro a delay so an official could be brought in. This was refused.
So today, 80 blokes from Phase 1 walked out in support of the two men, as well as another of our brothers who was also suspended for 3 days for refusing extra work. This brother was subjected to racist abuse and was pushed around by the same General Foreman who had been causing all the trouble about the gloves.
WE ARE NOT GOING BACK UNTIL MONDAY, AND WE’RE CALLING ON OUR BROTHERS ON ‘A’ SHIFT IN PHASE 1 TO SUPPORT US BY COMING OUT WITH US.
“WE’RE ASKING PHASE 1 NIGHTSHIFT TO SUPPORT US”
printed by Ford Workers’ Group Langley
A scan of the original document can be seen here.