Industrial action and negotiations led by the strong unions brought good pay deals and improved working conditions for the workforce.

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Back in the ‘70s, a lot of companies and industries looked at Ford to see what the reaction of the Ford workforce was as far as pay rises and that kind of thing.

I think a lot of them gauged what they were going to ask for on the Ford pay talks. So if Ford were given 5% then a lot of other companies said, ‘Right, ok, then we’re going to try and go and get the same as Ford.

Russ M

We used to go on strike for real reasons, I thought. They always say, you never gain anything. The money that you might make - the pay deal or whatever grievance you have - you go out of work for 9 weeks that’s a lot of money to lose, really.

But I think sometimes you have to make a stand, which is something I don’t think the chaps would even contemplate now. I think things have changed, I think people have forgotten that people went out on strike for these terms and conditions, to get them and I think people now don’t see that, or they see it as their right.

Andy B

My view of the union involvement was without the unions the workers today wouldn’t be where they are now with the rights they have. My personal view is I didn’t like the way they went about achieving some of that.

It was bully tactics rather than negotiated tactics. So although the man in the street has got a lot to thank the unions for – in the whole country, I’m not just talking about Ford - because the men and the rights that they have now. But there are ways and means.

I think in those days it was a bit bully-ish. But that’s changed a lot. I mean we’re going back now 30 years ago maybe or more. It’s a lot more civilised now. Well, because people talk now, I think. You do get more people, there’s none of this walking out now.

But as I say, one of the big things to achieve that was this Attendance Allowance. It changed the guy on the shop floor his view of having little meetings in the car park. Because it was now costing him money to do it.

If you lost one hour, you lost your whole week’s allowance, you see. But this Attendance Allowance was paid for many, many years, incrementally increased with the pay rise until it was probably £25 a week, something like that.

Martin W

It seems that the longer time I’ve worked here, the more unions work with the management, rather than oppose them. I think I’ve definitely seen a change in just the time that I’ve worked here.

It was never really bad. It was more a case of them and us. And it’s definitely more a case of us working together. I’ve seen that evolve through just my time working here. It seems to be more working as a team, rather than, ‘We’re not doing that’ and coming to stalemate.