Industry: water, steel & energy

Mate, Derek (7 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 7: 'A housewife could have done more than some of the craftsmen'. Trade Union dominated, 'killed themselves off'. People in Consett. AUEW destructive. 'Professional Trade Unions - more money, more jobs, more inefficiency! Business/government philosophy. Working day at Consett - get to work for about 8.45am. Based at main office block, get around plant. 7,000 people - they got to know you, you didn't get to know all of them. Got to know the troublemakers. Lunch with senior managers - built up spirit and discussed business. Came home between 6pm-7pm. No fixed routine. When departmental manager, always walked around works, in the morning to know what was going on. One Sunday afternoon helped blokes clean up oil spillage in Sinter plant. Didn't mix with workpeople socially. Rather be with family and garden and DIY. Difficulties with youngest son, sent him to local school "Biggest mistake I've ever made in my life'. He couldn't cope with being 'bosses son'. Teased at school. Nearly had a nervous breakdown. Didn't realise it at the time. Permanently affected him. Became Director of Steelmaking - Mills at Teesside. Offered job by Derek Saul. Agreed under certain conditions. Then became Works Director. Started 1 Dec. 1979. Strike 1980 - knew what was going to happen during strike. Devised best possible manning systems. Planned future of industry. Got about 120 shop stewards in cinema and told them what we wanted to do. 'Lucky to get out alive'. Planned to take 3, 000 jobs off them in the first year. Eventually got 4? thousand jobs off them. They 'played hell' - "get back to Consett" etc. Determined and backed up by government. "We had to survive!" Had to put pressure on departmental managers - they had planned to negotiate - wanted to cut figures. Put figure as 7,00 people to get down to, reached figure in 1985.

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