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VSE078 Margaret Duggan, JR Freeman's Cigar Factory, Cardiff
Margaret was born in Ireland and she left school at 17 (1964) after doing a course in a technical college. She worked as a cook initially. Between 1966 and 1970 she worked for General Electric (EI) and then she married and moved to Wales. She started working in Freeman’s. She describes making the cigars. She caught her hand in the machine – 8 stitches. She had compensation through the union. Changed jobs – check weigher. Targets – e.g. how many they could get out of one leaf. She could walk around and chat. She had a set wage. Strong smell of tobacco, conditions improved and they were given masks to wear. Fine mist to keep tobacco moist. Paying tax on the cigars, she did the finished order audit. She left in 2002 when she was 55. She received a watch for 30 years’ service. Good pay and bonuses every Xmas and Easter. Extra holidays depending on period of employment. Tobacco Worker’s Union – dispute about finishing at 1.30 on Friday – union won. She had redundancy pay. In the beginning it was a workers’ market. Newsletter – Smoke Signals. Perks - free cigars and cigarettes every month. Social clubs, e.g. golf and badminton. The company paid for her to go on a computer course. Xmas draw and dinner. Family place.