In the 1970s manufacturing industries across the country had strict rules on 'demarcation'. Workers could only carry out tasks of their own trade.

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A lot of things have changed because when I first started here there were definite demarcations what they call it. An electrician would only do an electrician’s work, a plumber would only do a plumber’s work, the fitter would come in and do the dirty heavy work. Gradually over the years that did change.

Steve B

The one thing I do remember back in those days was every job had someone to do that job. You were only allowed to do your job. You weren’t allowed to other things.

It’s like, in the Tool Room, you would have a piece of steel, you would mark it out to be cut on a bandsaw, you would give it to the bandsaw operator and he would cut it for you. You’d then mark it out for a big hole to be drilled, you’d then give it to the radial driller and he would drill it for you.

You know, you didn’t actually do those jobs, there were people to do it for you. Where nowadays you do it all yourself. But back in those days you didn’t do other people’s jobs.

Russ McE

For instance on a portable weld gun the gun that the operators use to put the spot welds on. If the main cable to the gun broke down, you’d actually have an electrician, a plumber and a fitter on that same job. The electrician would take off the electrical parts, the mechanical person would take of the nut and bolt, and the plumber would come and take off his pieces of water cooling equipment.

That couldn’t carry on. There’s three people doing one man’s work. It took a long long time to get rid of that demarcation, but it happened. After that one man would go out and do the whole lot.

[It was] resistance mainly, because the people who worked here had worked in this sort of industry for many, many years. You could probably officially class them as dinosaurs. They didn’t want to change, they could see that any change would affect their jobs. And they weren’t going to do it.

Steve B

The brought in demarcation a long time ago where you’d have one guy come along, an electrician would come along and disconnect something and then a fitter would come along and take it out. Where obviously now you do the whole thing yourself.

There was a little bit, but I can understand it a little bit because where people were specialised – you know you had specialists at doing every sort of job. Where now you have people that aren’t as specialised but they’re doing everything. So it’s almost like a Jack-of-all-Trades which isn’t always a good thing.

Andy B

There were certain lines you didn’t cross, you know. The funny one was, if you wanted to change the air valve you had to call an electrician to take the wires out. So you could then replace the valve and the electrician would then put the wires back in. If you were caught taking wires out, you, you were in trouble [Laughs] by the electricians, obviously.

I think it was like that countrywide, wasn’t it? I mean it wasn’t just a Ford thing. Back then you could get away with it.

Russ McE

To be fair the guys have always been treated rather well here. But I think a lot of that is because they’ve had a lot of protection over the years from the unions.

Andy B