Darlin' 'arold and the miners.

Discussion in 'The Gash Barge' started by Billy Q, Apr 1, 2016.

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  1. Today's problems with steel-making reminds me of Harold Wilson's Premiership and the miners.
    He and his Labour Government were making tumultuous noises to keep failing coal mines open.
    At the same time allowing the Admiralty and other Government Departments to purchase coal at its cheapest price.
    Our Bar Boats and Fleet Tugs were sailing forth on Polish and Australian coal whilst darlin' 'arold was fulminating that not using British coal was an attack on the working classes.
    Who will buy expensive British steel?
     
  2. My dad was a Steel worker in Shotton (N Wales), best thing they ever did was go on strike in the late 70's as he managed to fit in more Plastering Jobs.

    Shotton employed 13,000 in its heyday, there are just over 700 now and its makes a profit (one of the only ones that does). Back in the Day Port Talbot campaigned to get Shotton closed as one in Wales had to go, the restructure meant Shotton lost the some of the lines and Port Talbot survived. Steel only came one way from South to North and the things written on the coils was horrendous (nothing went the other way), ask anybody in Shotton if they should save Port Talbot and you will get the same answer "Let them rot", call it bitter and twisted but they are unfortunately.
     
  3. The steel industry in this country has always suffered from piss poor management and union militancy. The worst thing that ever happened to Ebbw Vale works was the takeover from RTB to British Steel. Bonus was then paid on production instead of what went over the weighbridge as sold commodity. There was steel and tinplate in that works that had been made years previously, unsold but the bonus had been paid on it. Shotton has been mentioned, try getting steel unloaded in 8 bay west in that shithole! Lazy bastards in there thought nothing of making an official 20 minute break last 2 hours while they played cards and all the while a great queue of lorries were waiting to get tipped. The management did nothing, for fear of "upsetting the union". Tafanarbach works in Tredegar, same thing. My wife's uncle was a shift foreman in that works, I once asked him why he didn't stir the goods inwards and dispatch blokes up a bit and he replied "If I did that they won't speak to me in the pub on the weekend!" The ones I felt sorry for were the lads at Ravenscraig in Motherwell. Told to behave and increase production or face closure they upped their game, only to be shut down 2 years later anyway. I hauled steel for years out of South Wales, Llanwern, Ebbw Vale, Trostre and the seemingly doomed Abbey Works in Port Talbot and although I do feel some sympathy for those whose jobs are at risk and their families, a lot of the steel industries' problems are of their own making.
     
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  4. Taff, did you sell my Dad anything? He was always bringing stuff home he had got of one of the drivers :)
     
  5. Are you sure he's your real dad? Perhaps your mum brought something home she got off one of the drivers! (Only joking!) Probably didn't sell him anything, mostly by the time I'd got loaded all my customers had gone to bed!
     
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  6. -
    90% British steel for any warship building in this country .

    Makes you wonder why TATA held out for so long , I know they have deep pockets but £1 million a day !.
     
  7. My missus tells me I'm starting to look like him (without the roman nose) so I reckon he is :)

    What you are saying about them being lazy is correct, the stories he told me about them getting a full 8 hours sleep on a 12 hour shift etc.
     
  8. Some of things that were happening in steelworks were ridiculous. I recall a huge backlog of lorries waiting to be loaded in the hot mill in Llanwern because of an overhead crane breaking down. It had blown it's main fuse and along came the electrician, "Can't do anything with this buddy, there's no fitter available to undo the bolts on the fusebox door." One of the drivers asked why he couldn't undo the bolts and the reply was "Bolts are mechanical, fuses are electrical, electricians don't do mechanical, union rules you see." Five hours and a shift change later a fitter arrives to cheers from the drivers, he then refused to undo the bolts as it was only 30 minutes till breaktime! Feckin' unbelievable the things that went on in steelworks, British Industry at it's best.
     
  9. I was down Soton docks during the seamens' strike of 1966. We caught this dockyard matey behind some pallets scoffing corned beef from a catering size tin. I told him as long as he finished the lot we would say no more. My mate had buggered off and returned later with a catering size can of peaches in syrup. "And here's your dessert," he announced with a flourish. :cool:

    Edit to remove the sand from the duff
     
    Last edited: Apr 2, 2016
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  10. Sounds like the steel industry is very much like the old dockyards used to be, dockies fishing on a Sunday afternoon or pitching up for a night shift with their sleeping bags?
     
  11. Credit where it's due, a lot of privately owned steelworks were efficiently run and probably still are. Alpha Steels in Newport was a good example. You weighed in, joined the queue which was never stationary and as you entered the bay, jump out of the cab and grabbing a huge lump of chalk off the wall, marked your trailers' bed as to where you required the back end of the coils to be positioned. Jump back in and move slowly down the bay, on would go your coils and away you went to weigh out. Those boys just kept going, if one went and made the tea the crane driver's mug was put on the coil hook and he would raise it and reach out of his cab to get it. If he spilled it or dropped it off the hook, tough shit, he didn't get another one! Those boys were on good money and their bonus was paid on the tonnage that went over the weighbridge, they had incentives and went for it. If British Steel had used the same system perhaps they would have been much heathier and never been sold off to TATA anyway.
     
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  13. Well said, Billy Q. Couldn't have put it better meself. :cool:
     
  14. Aye, well said, rather proves my point.
     

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