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VSE043 Anita Rebecca Jeffery, Christie-Tyler, Bridgend;Polikoffs, TreorchyAnita describes living in a pre-fab, leaving school at 15 (1954) and starting as a machinist in Polikoff’s. Army and other clothes and bedding. First job – making men’s trouser flies. Stigma with factory work. Piecework and reaching targets. Promotion to larger Pfaff machine. Music, singing and waving. Custom when getting married – backcombing hair, sugar soap and chalk and in a truck to men’s dept. Smell of rats – All out. Plague of cockroaches. Acceptance of gay worker. Perks – cheaper suits and bedding. Pilfering – stealing suits! In Christie-Tyler she was a member of National Union of Furniture Trade Operatives. Polikoff’s – dispute re. time and motion. She became union rep. standing up for women. Them and us. Promoting women who were assertive to be on management’s side. Cotton spool rollers and a scarf. Serious accident with a presser and needle through fingers. Effect long term on her legs and eyesight. She left when pregnant – 1961. Started having paid holidays in late 1950s. Dances in Polikoff’s canteen with live bands and no alcohol. Miss Polikoff – she won c.1957. She returned to factory work in 1969/70 as a machinist making upholstery. Factory moved from Bridgend to Talbot Green. Stayed there 12 years. Piecework and some greedy workers. Story about engagement ring – honesty. Pride: ‘I was a manufacturer’. Prank and all machines blowing. Putting addresses in RAF uniform jacket pockets.
Part of this interview is available as an audio file