VSE006 Sylvia Ann Reardon, AB Metals, Abercynon;Copygraph, TreforestSylvia decribes her mother working as a cleaner and taking in evacuees. She took a chapel house – slave labour. Her father was a Communist. Sylvia went to Clarke’s Commercial College, left at 18 (1966), worked for electricity board, on to Copygraph factory Treforest, but hated it and ‘mitched’. Then she went to the biggest employer locally AB Metals – into invoicing section – worked like a dog. Stayed there 1959-1966. Made to feel an important cog in wheel. Twenty AB buses, but had to pay. She made one huge mistake with export documents. They made tuners for TVs and other electronic equipment. Details of job. Some girls had to sign the Official Secrets Act Complicated processes. Vast customer base. 4000 women workers – redundancies. Helped a friend to get a job in the pit. Loyalty to people on your line or in your office. First day at work in overcrowded office and everyone smoking Woodbines. Wonderful place to work – gave her confidence and capability. Complained re. lack of. space but they took the ceiling down instead. No trade union for office staff but she organised secret membership. Men 75% higher wages than women. Union rep. Saving with National Savings. Story about giving fellow-workers dexadrine and amphetamines to help productivity. Later withdrawal symptoms! Segregated canteens – office / assembly. Big social scene: going clubbing; sketches. Unmarried mother taken under their wing. She didn’t mix with the factory floor girls. Factory freed women up. Miss AB. Fabulous Xmas do in Cardiff. Left first time when husband to Huddersfield. Left second time because no pension – into local government.
Part of this interview is available as an audio file