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A collection of interviews and photographs recorded by Women's Archive of Wales in 2013-14

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VSE074 Tryphena Jones, JR Freeman's Cigar Factory, Port Talbot;JR Freeman's Cigar Factory, Cardiff

Tryphena left school at 16 (1966) and started in Freeman’s. She had an interview and an IQ test. She was in the making dept. – and had to get so many cuts out of one leaf. Some of the girls in hair rollers and hairnets. This stopped after 2 years. Describes a day’s work. Singing and chatting. Targets. Describes procedure of making a cigar. Worked in pairs – at the same speed. She explains the work in the stripping room. Quality control checked and if 5 faulty you were in trouble. She explains how they worked the targets. Well paid job. She worked for the money. It was difficult for women to become charge hands – this changed. She learned to fix her own machine and felt it was unfair that mechanics were paid more than the women. Time and motion person – she describes how they behaved when he was watching. Three warnings for not meeting targets and out. Dangers - one girl next to her lost 2 fingers. Union didn’t start for two years – disputes about noise and heat. Discusses harassment. She was involved in sport and had to take unpaid leave. Story about her television interview. Social events: It’s a knockout, skittles, dances etc. Miss Manikin – some jealousy and some opposed it. Noise has affected the workers’ hearing. Changes because of mechanisation. Looked after if ill. Four canteens and different food too. She did 3 years in Port Talbot too; 12 years in Cardiff. She was able to pass tests on gymnastics while there. Good learning curve.
J.R. Freeman Cigar factory 'It's a Knockout' team, Tryphena Jones front row on the left