Industry: water, steel & energy

Mate, Derek (4 of 9) National Life Story Collection: Lives in Steel

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  • Recording date

    1991-11-1; 1991-11-11

  • Recording locations

    Interviewee's home, Cleveland

  • Interviewees

    Mate, Derek, 1926- (speaker, male)

  • Interviewers

    Dein, Alan (speaker, male)

  • Abstract

    Part 4: £1, 000 a year plus 25% cost of living as manager. Married at 23. Bought a greengrocers shop, went to market every morning. Lived at wife's grandmother's house. Kept shop for 5 years. Knew wife for years, got confirmed when leaving Navy. Ninette, her ambition was to be a mother and a housewife. Married at Stocksbridge Church, honeymoon in Bournemouth, 1950. Bought a 2 up/2 down house and then built a bungalow near wife's grandfather. Manager of Traffic dept. Didn't believe in fraternising with everybody, drinking with people 'you have to keep right'. Billet finished dept./production controller. 1967, Nationalisation, three works brought together; Shepcote Lane, Stocksbridge, Openshaw works (closed it down in 1972). Billet finishing - process, inspect, dress, despatch. Annealing furnaces. Road despatch emerging, expensive maintaining railways. Razor blades for Gillettes and Wilkinsons. Describes process, carbon - 004 thickness, accuracy of cold rolling, slit and despatched. 6 inch thick width coils, Robertsons Mills. Problems - productivity versus constant resistance from Trade Unions. Paying more than you wanted. Negotiations. Demonstrations, 1957 Craftsmen's strike. 'Mucked in' as acting traffic manager; repaired cranes. 'Found a lot of truths out', they spun the work out, 'bollockings'/sackings. Established rules and protected them. 'Never lied to unions'. Sat down 'chipper' to read book on job evaluation, to evaluate the job. Didn't stay long after that. Works councils started in Stocksbridge 1928. You went to talk to blokes doing the job, not union reps. Works councils held at works in canteens, or convenient room. United Steels works council conference, useful. Dept. manager chatted to the men, kept moving around, not on your ass in the office. Very important that they understood what you wanted. Rumours in the early 1980's about closure.

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