EBB AND FLOW

"Ebb and flow" which is centred around the Charley Clays Clothing Factory during the early sixties. The story focuses on different kinds of life in North Shields at that time - There's Helen Smith the young woman who dreams of a better life for herself, she wants to live like the rich people. When she marries Thomas Lattimer who is a wealthy banker she discovers that the life that she wanted is not all it was made up to be. Jimmy Mulligan who works for Hoults the butchers, lives over the road with his parents he has been in love with Helen since they were at school together. He tells her of his love and that he will wait for her no matter how long it takes. Allan Forster has been in and out of Borstal for petty crimes he dreams of one big job that will net him enough money to live the high life - He gets involved with Paddy Leonard a notorious hardman. A power struggle takes place in North Shields for supremacy. Paddy Devlin another bouncer, come gangster is running a protection racket

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“That’s a strong word Edith isn’t it.’

“Is it not true?’

Yes but…

No buts, we want rid of him don’t we?’

“Yes they all voiced.’

“Well now we have a chance so we all stick together we can make this happen. You may be called in to Mr Clay’s office to tell what Mr Amos did. Do not be afraid to stand up and tell them what happened. If I am to be your foreman, Edith paused for a moment then said who invented that word anyway- Foreman?’ some chauvinist I bet.’

“Let’s call me a works supervisor from now on.’

The hooter sounded to end the tea break. “That’s another issue I want to address.’ Why is the clocking machine right at the far end of the factory? Our fifteen minute break is cut to only ten by the time we get to the canteen. The machine should be right outside to clock in when we arrive here giving us a full fifteen minutes. And not only that, but we should not be penalised for being late going back; how many of you run here and back, I know I do. How many of you have tripped and fallen down, again I have. That has to stop we should not have to run; it is a safety Issue. The women all walked slowly back to the factory floor where Mr Amos was standing outside the clocking in machine.’

“You are all three minutes late and I will be docking half an hour off all of your pay.’

Edith pushed her way to the front. “Mr Amos if you dock anyone’s wages for walking in a safe manner from the canteen to this clocking machine I’m sure the union will here about it.’ they are going to hear about you and your deviant behaviour anyway.’

“Deviant who you calling a deviant; you ugly upstart; get back to your work the lot of you.’

“As the girls representative I am going to use the phone right now to ring the TGWU.’

“You will do nothing of the kind do you hear me; now either get back to work or I’m sacking you.’

“Don’t you threaten me Mr Amos or you will have another strike on your hands; I have the backing of every machinist in this factory. Word will get around here faster than a fart on the breeze and we will all walk.’ So what’s it to be Mr Amos are you going to allow me to use the phone or not.’

“You make your bloody call said Amos angrily. “ I tell you this I will see my day wi you.’

“And so will I wi you a aal.’

Edith Holding walked through the factory with the girls they took their seats at their machines proud that Edith had stood up for every working woman.’

Later that week Mr Charles Amos was called into Charley Clay’s office where he was given a right dressing down and made to give a public apology in the canteen in front of all the women before being demoted back to where he started twenty years before in the packing bay. Never again would he hold a supervisory position.

Edith Holding took over in her new job with a new title “Works Supervisor”.

The clocking machines were moved so that every worker started their fifteen minute break when the reached the canteen. Hot and cold drinks were made readily available and two smoke breaks of five minutes were permitted. Running in the factory was strictly forbidden.

 It was seen as a great victory which was set new working standards in industry all over Britain.

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