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A collection of interviews and photographs recorded by Women's Archive of Wales in 2013-14

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VSE054 Doreen Lillian Maggie Bridges (nee Moses), Valeo, Ystrad Mynach;Golmets, Pontllan-ffraith;Switchgear, Pontllan-ffraith;Cora Crafts, Pengam

Doreen left school at 15+ (1957) and started in the stores in the Cora Crafts Factory, which made jewellery. Men came in to collect the stones. She helped with weighing the gold powder for the gold-plating too. With the orders she was using her brains. Her father was very strict re. going out – no lipstick. Her friends went monkey-parading. She only stayed 6 months. Doreen moved to Switchgear – quite a big factory, drilling, countersinking (making a ridge for screws) and de-burring (taking flashing off what was being drilled). The factory made switches. Mother and pay packet. Union supported her re. lifting heavy loads. Taken off job. Radio and singing to themselves. Noise affected her hearing. Men had been trained and got higher wages – unfair. By the time of the Equal Pay Act (1970) she was working in Valeo's. But they did not have equal pay. She stayed 1 year in Switchgear, and went to Golmets. Left to have first child 1965. Golmets made ironing boards and kitchen stools. She spent a time cutting white asbestos – no masks. She ‘could see it in the air’. She went to Valeo’s in 1977. She became a union rep. with the GMB – a fight against using a special dip which caused cancer. Valeo’s made armatures for windscreen washes. She also had to negotiate pay rises. Advised women to pay the full stamp. Women were ‘being done down’. Xmas carnival with Switchgear lorry – choir on float. Doreen retired in 1995.
Part of this interview is available as an audio file
The Switchgear Factory's Christmas Sleigh with the company carol choir

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