Industry: water, steel & energy

Mate, Derek (5 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 5: Nationalisation - managers didn't look forward to it. "Prevented what we wanted to do by Labour government!" 1967, Production Controller at Stocksbridge. Responsibilities. Closure of Openshaw. Tribunal in Manchester. Won case, answer compensation queries. No order book, backward plant. Steelworks assets, virtually scrap. Compensatei people, paid more than nominal minimums. Customers. Making one million pounds profits at Stocksbridge in late 1950's. Made first loss in 1970. Made people redundant. First people to go were married women and the officers. Widows and single women would stay. Short-time work, no five day week guarantees. Knocking charging-railers down to four days a week. They wanted to make men below redundant so they could work a full week. Refused, very difficult. 'Name was mud in local community'. Family was associated with 'D. Mate'. Not until going to Teesside, when you could live 'full life'. Youngest son's nerves affected, school kids saw him as General Manager of Consett's son. Looking back, would have sent him to private school. Friends in Stocksbridge, real friends, people you grew up with. No 'airs and graces'. 'Never a dull moment in steel industry', challenge. Hardest challenge going from production to production control. Learnt a lot about planning and customers, computerisation. Hated paperwork, reports. Took a lot of reading home. Young manager. Bonus schemes, spending, standard costing. Sunday nights read up for a couple of hours. Technical changes. Open hearth furnaces to Arc furnaces in the 50's. Understood process. Well managed changeover. Biggest ark furnace in Europe at the time. A furnace, loaded wagons instead of loco's with pans on them. Dug up half the hillside. Scrap and iron changed furnace, cold metal changed. Open hearth, difficulties with heavy scrap

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