VSW013 Anonymous, Slimma-Dewhirst, Cardigan
The speaker left school at 15 (1968) and started in Slimma’s. It had been Calders previously. Slimma’s made two way stretch – ski pants. Her first job was packing, then labels. She felt old-fashioned compared to the other girls – mini-skirts, platform heels, smoking and going to the pub. No targets. No union. When Dewhirst came in (several takeovers later) there were hard targets, unions. Slimma’s girls ironing their hair! Heavy metal music. When pregnant you worked up to a few weeks before birth and returned in so many weeks – your job was kept open for you. She left when pregnant (c.1972) and returned c.1980. Totally changed: learning more skills; pay depended on reaching targets; and compensation for sewing through finger. She notes the Eaton system checking on performance – terrible; cheating; good overtime pay; reputation of factory girls; boy machinists – problems; how supervisors got their jobs; swearing and the union and some stealing garments. She had carpal tunnel syndrome from hemming – went into auditing and then back as machinist. Social club with trips e.g. to Ireland. Made redundant 2002.