Thursday, December 5, 2013

One man, One job

I watched Greenock Shipyards slowly die. In my opinion

I hated the union rule " One man, one Job "

The quote " One man, one job " haunts the life out of me, when I started my apprenticeship as a Plumber at Mitchell's, corner West Stewart St. & Nicholson St in 1952, I wasn't asked, I was told I had to be in the union, now Mitchell's were very proud of their apprentices and you were given a trade on conditions, you had to go to night school twice a week, and a day at James Watt Collage, Mitchell's wanted their plumbers to be the best in Greenock
 was trained in every thing, from hard metals and soft metals, lead burning, welding, brazing, in fact every aspect in plumbing, right through to our City & Guilds exams.
When I worked on the Shipyards as a plumber, . if I wanted to bring my hot & Cold water pipes through a bulk-head ( Wall ) 1st. I had to find a " Marker ", he would chalk the section of bulkhead and using a compass, draw a 2 inch or 3 inch circle or what ever was needed, 2nd we would have a " Centre Dabber ", who would come and mark round the circle, 3rd we had to get Oxy- acetylene cutter, to cut the hole in the bulk-head, after these three workers had finished, I could put my pipes through, then I would have to go and find a " Tacker " an electric welder who tacked the pipes to the bulkhead before I was allowed to move on

Now !! I was qualified to do all of these actions needed to get the Hot & Cold water pipes through to the next cabin, BUT !!! the " One man, One Job " was quoted, I could have done the job in ..say 30 Minutes...where as, depending where on the ship these different men were, this action could take me 3/5 days, sometimes even longer.

You don't have to be a mathematician, to count up the cost of putting pipes through, I only used this as an example, but this " One man, One job " affected every trade on the ship-building, you weren't even allowed to clear up a cabin floor to start work, we had to find a " Sweeper Upper ", who was generally a almost retired worker

I can say I had the pleasure of working on the Queen Elizabeth, Queen Mary, when they both docked at the " Tail O' the bank ", and the Royal Yacht Britannia at Clydebank, but due to the " One man, One job ", the cost of Ship building on the Clyde, was so high, other countries could build the ships at a third of the cost

When I came out of the army in the 50's I returned to Mitchell's the plumbers, 2 days back I was approached by the union Rep. I packed up my tool box and walked out, I don't understand unions, and don't like them

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