Film: 5167

Industry + Work | 1960 | Sound | B/W

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Synopsis:

Management and productivity goals in industry

Twelve photographs of men and women appear together on the screen. Zoom in to one photograph of head and shoulders shot of working man wearing flat cap, thick jacket, shirt and jumper. He says that he prefers an old-fashioned foreman in a bowler hat telling the workers to work faster than a time management man with a stopwatch. He thinks there is some thing un-English about time management studies. Another man, wearing overall jacket over collar and he expresses concern that time and management studies are usually related to redundancies. Other man, wearing thick-framed glasses and wearing a suit talks about workers concerns for losing their jobs. Workers, wearing jackets and flat caps sit drinking mugs of tea with docks and cranes in the background. Old man speaking in North of England accent, possibly Geordie but difficult to tell. He says that more machines means less labour and therefore job losses, but the men know that progress must go on. Interview with Ted Hill. caption reads "general Secretary the United Society of Boilermakers, Blacksmiths, Shipbuilders and Structural Workers. member of the General Council of the Trades Union Congress". he believes that increased productivity cannot be measured on a slide rule but is the result of good conduct between management and workers. If issues in the workplace can be restores between the two sides then productivity will increase naturally. It is not about working harder but better relations. Dissolve to steady flood of workers, mostly wearing flat caps, walking into or from work. Commentary says that these are all different opinions and that it is a case of individual s depending on management, Trades Unions and each other. Good continuous shot of workers walking past, including some women.
Double decker bus as it travels past sign for College of Advanced technology, Birmingham, in which is based the Department of Industrial Administration. Pan up to building. Sign on door for Head of Department T Lupton M.A.(Oxon) Ph.D. The door opens to reveal man seated behind desk, another man sitting on chair at side of desk and a women dressed in a short-sleeved patterned dress standing in front of the desk. They are concerned with how to improve the state of Britain's industry. Woman leaves room with papers. Three men around desk talking. Close up of Doctor Lupton as he takes off his glasses whilst talking to others.
Lorry passes camera and another lorry drives into entrance of warehouse. Dr Lufton goes to meet a man at warehouse where 25% more work is being done with a much smaller workforce. Lufton as he talks to man. Boxes stacked in background. Man talks about redundancy. He says that there were no redundancies as the company promised and have carried it out, that now worker will be made redundant but transferred to another part of the business at a wage no less than he was previously given, possibly more. Lufton asks if the success of this was due to workers being flexible in their jobs. Caption over the man read "Clifford Taylor - Union of Shop, Distributive and Allied Workers". He replies that everyone was taught everyone else's job at the beginning so all jobs are interchangeable. Lufton asks about difficulty over fork lift truck drivers. Taylor replies that they had only been trained specifically to drive the forklifts. These two men were on the redundancy list and accepted the changeover. he says that they were all trained in forklift truck driving and therefore they can all do that job. Picture of man driving forklift truck in warehouse, surrounded by pallets of boxes. Pallet of boxes on forklift is lowered to ground. Driver swaps with another driver. View from forklift as it travels around warehouse. Vice-over of Taylor says that men are happy as their working conditions are better and productivity has increased. Man wheeling trolley loaded with boxes to back of truck in loading bay. Two men stacking boxes on to back of lorry. Taylor says that the work of 20 to 30 men is now being done by 16.
Close-up of another man as voice-over says absence through sickness has fallen because not coming in meant losing two or three pounds bonus. Dr Lufton asks what the benefits of the new system are. Caption over man reads " Glyn Foulis, Union of Shop, Distributive and Allied Workers. He says the main benefit is the money. They receive an average three pounds a week but it can be as much as seven pounds. He does believe that they are working harder and money is the driving force. He also believes they are moving twice as much in the warehouse as before. Lufton asks if it is better with everyone doing everyone else's job but if someone is sick then that work can still be covered. This answer is in voice-over over pictures of two men in overalls walking through warehouse pallets looking at sheets of paper. One man marks off on paper as he passes pallets. Man behind large table taking sides of bacon and hanging them on large hooks as another man pushes meat already on hooks along. Two men stacking large full sacks onto pallets on forklift truck. Lufton's commentary states that in this case the system worked and that reorganisation can be done with more established traditional practices but it is more difficult.
Engine pushes single freight carriage backwards along track at Manchester London Road. Two men cross tracks after train passes. Lufton's voice-over suggests that one of the men is Mr McGrath, Chairman of the staff side of the sectional council. Lufton sits in room opposite Mr McGrath with desk lamp in backroom. Lufton asks about problems relating to speeding up loading of wagons. McGrath says that Manchester London Road station is a hoist station where wagons are not shunted by an engine but hoisted to their positions. Productivity relates to the efficiency of the men working in the hoist area. Wagon on tracks pushed into hoist section. Man at ropes pulls and wagon descends into chambers below ground level of main tracks. Man attaches large chains to wagon. Another man feeds rope around capstan. McGrath refers to the men working in the area as capstans). Wagon pulled by pulley around capstan onto track on revolving plate. Wagon turned through 45 degrees. Man guiding wagon and pushes large metal clip into slot on ground with his foot when plate has revolved 45 degrees. Wagon rolled along track. McGrath interview with Lufton as McGrath speaks. Caption over picture reads "Fred McGrath: Chairman of the Staff Side of the London Midland Region of sectional Council No.4 National Union of Railwaymen". he says that his idea was to get the capstan workers to work as a team with one capstan becoming the goods checker, one the discharger and two to move the goods. Picture of man unloading wagon, one picking up boxes and putting onto trolley and third wheeling full trolley away as fourth man appears with empty trolley. Another wagon rolls in and the process is repeated. Man loading boxes off trolley whilst trolley man watches. McGrath says that working men have a fear of being able t do another man's job in case they are doing that man out of his job. Back to McGrath in interview. He says the key is to treat men as intelligent and not as paid lackeys. He cites a case where there is a sign on the railway that reads "railway servants must cross at this point". These men still sign things "Your obedient servant" and if the railwayman did not tip his hat to the gaffer he was sacked. He says that some management want to help these traditions and these are the people he wants to get rid of. Lufton asks McGrath how he sees his responsibilities to his Trade Union members, the railway and country. McGrath replies that he wants the best pay and conditions for the people he represents. he says it is up to the government to provide an economy that makes Britain self-sufficient which ultimately means more work. The workers' contribution is to increase productivity on British Railways.
Truck loaded with boxes passes in underground tunnel. Lufton's commentary asks whether skilled workmen, as opposed to the semi-skilled workers he has talked to so far have more to lose. Man using hammer on masonry in wall at Wallsend, Newcastle. man, on ladder sawing at joist in roof. These men are building craftsmen who have to repair schools, municipal buildings and council houses. Man pushing trolley down street with snow on pavement and surrounding buildings. Lufton says that a time and motion study has been completed and time was wasted in the length of time it took travelling backwards and forwards for materials. In answer to this, new depots were set up and a trial bonus scheme is being set up. Lufton interviews Mr Hall, craftsman. caption reads "Jim Hall, Amalgamated Society of Woodworkers" Mr Hall says that where job times are accurately taken, everyone is happy, but in some cases times are being guessed and he is not happy. This affects his bonus pay if they guess a time wrong to the actual time it takes them. He says that instead of doing jobs all over the estate they work in the same area at one time. Mr Hall's view on this is that the council wanted more work in less time for less cost. He laughs and says the workers wanted "more money, full stop." Lufton suggests such a scheme must be difficult to implement as it has to go through many committees. When asked how he would do it, Mr Hall says firstly he would speak to the men about it as soon as possible as he found that with them they learnt little bits now and then and became frightened of what was to come. It is easier to face the future if you know what is going to happen, even if you do not agree with it. Man using a mallet to demolish porcelain toilet bowl. Stands up and greets Lufton. Lufton asks man, Mr Brown, how the plumbers reacted. Brown says that they reacted badly as they felt they were being spied upon. Caption reads "Bill Brown - Plumbing Trade Union". Brown feels that the times they have been given by the study are a bit tight and that they are working to have the times reassessed. Brown felt that if the times were agreed by both worker and men (management?) then the scheme could be implemented. Commentary from Lufton states that some of the men reacted strongly against the idea. Bricklayer with trouser legs tied to ankles, gets down off plank where he was working to greet Lufton. Man sits on plank and is interviewed. Caption reads "Jim Dockerty - Amalgamated Union of Building Trade Workers". Dockerty says he does not agree with the bonus scheme . He says he does not need someone standing over him in order to work. He thinks there is a problem but bonus schemes are not the answer. Lufton's face as he asks next question. Dockerty thinks that increasing stores in depots near jobs allows them to do a job ore quickly. he seems to agree with this new improvement. he then appears to contradict his views by saying that the bonus scheme has made him and the other men work harder. Lufton asks if Docherty thinks this scheme will be implemented. Docherty agrees there is a problem and if this scheme is not adopted then another one is needed. Lufton walks around the corner to find man in suit and hat and a man in worker's clothing, cloth cap and thick jacket as man in suit checks wall inside building with spirit level. Lufton interviews worker who is a bricklayer's labourer. Caption reads: "Peter Fawkes - Amalgamated Union of Building Trade workers" Fawkes believes that to be timed with a stop watch while working is "Un-English" He argues that workers should not be times at all. he says that craftsman should be given a job and be told to do it soon or late and let the tradesman do his best with it. It must be cold because, as he speaks, you can see his breath in the air. His main concern is that being given ten minutes to finish a job may mean skimping and poor quality.
Cut to Lufton who nods his head emphatically. Lufton asks what will Fawkes do if the scheme is implemented. He replies at his age ( he is not very old looking ) he will have to like it or lump it. He says he likes the extra money, he does not mind working harder or helping out the council but his main problem is with the stopwatch. Fawkes using spade to dig in earth. Commentary from Lufton states that he sympathises with Fawkes as he is a good workman and his feelings are genuine. he feels that no-one can afford to ignore this attitude. Man sitting at table inn pub, smoking cigarette whilst Lufton buys two pints at the bar and brings them to the table. he too has a cigarette in his hand. They raise glasses and drink.
Aluminium rolling mill in South Wales. Two men feed pieces of aluminium on to conveyor belt into furnace. At other end two men take two sheets and put them on to a table on top of a large sheet of white paper. Man's face reflected in aluminium sheet. Another sheet of paper laid on top and fork lift truck collects pallet. Metal on pallet then driven to another part of factory for packing. Two men lift sheets into box to be packed. The new change is shown as visuals with Lufton commentating. The two packers at the end of the furnace lift the sheets of metal directly into the packing boxes. The men wear white gloves. They lift box onto frame with rollers and push box along rollers. Man in pub as interviewed by Lufton. Caption reads "Eddie Thomas, Branch Vice Chairman, Transport and General Workers Union". His face is seen through rising cigarette smoke. he drinks as he speaks. he says men were unwilling to accept changes because they feared the unemployment of the 1930's in South Wales and feared they would be out of work. As Thomas speaks he blows cigarette smoke out of his mouth and nose. Lufton asks him if the fear was related to a lack of communication about the changes. Thomas then drivels on complete nonsense about his dispute that communication is the panacea for problems in industry. he says that management need to teach the inarticulate man, not like himself!, and explain things to him. In other words, he does not answer Lufton's question. Close up as Lufton puts cigarette in his mouth. Sound of a match being struck as picture of Thomas as he talks more. On left side of picture smoke can be seen from Lufton's cigarette. Thomas concludes that management must get their message across to all men. Sign reads: "Operation S.P.E.A.R. The World's largest electric melting shop" The United Steel Co's Ltd. Man sweeping floor in front of three large doors to furnace with flames licking out. Pan right from furnaces to corrugated iron wall, industrial yard with rubble and cranes to two men, one in a hard had looking at the scene. Lufton's commentary states that when changes are complicated, it takes time and patience to explain it to the workers.
Truck travelling through buildings, cranes and rubble of the industrial yard. Picture of men with caption reading "Emlyn Roberts - Divisional Officer, Iron and Steel Trades Confederation". Lufton asks when did the union become involved in this scheme which cost ten million pounds and which transforms the making of steel. Roberts says they became involved as soon as the company confirmed the policy of the end of the open hearth furnaces. Another man interviewed with caption reading "Alec Hogg - Divisional Organiser, Iron and Steel Trades Confederation". Hogg was involves in the negotiations between the union and the company. The old furnaces are to be replaced by new electric arc furnaces. This will mean the company will have the largest smelting factory in the world. They will produce more steel but there will be less jobs and therefore redundancies. Old fashioned furnace as large metal shovel is driven into furnace by man on engine. Modern electric arc furnace as huge cylinder lowered into large vat as sparks fly. White hot liquid metal poured from cylindrical vat along channel as men look on through the sparks. Large rectangular block lowered into liquid steel and creates lots of steam or smoke. Man wearing round National Health - style glasses with dark lenses drives machine that pushes shovel into old-style furnace. His view of the furnace from the machine, behind shield. Man with dirty face and dark glasses wearing shirt without a collar and dirty white cap works levers at control panel. Man sweeping floor outside furnace as he wipes forehead with arm.
Man motions with arm to open furnace door and then puts on his dark glasses, He walks towards the furnace with his arm shielding face and looks at the opening. Over these pictures, Lufton asks how the men coped with the idea of redundancy.
Hogg replies that the company had to improve the furnace in order to remain competitive. The man could either wish to stay with a company that did not improve production and would eventually have to close or accept redundancy or take a lesser job on a lesser income. Some men may end up taking £15 less a week. Man wearing hard hat climbs out of large cylindrical structure and down ladder on other side. Hogg says that the changes have gone through smoothly and it would be wrong of anyone to say anything differently. Interview with man who has just climbed down ladder as caption reads: "Colin Windle- Branch Secretary, Iron and Steel Trades Confederation". Windle says the negotiations over pay and number of workers required went on for a very long time and were very bitter. He continues that it is not surprising that in a changeover like this there is disappointment as some have to lose jobs that they thought were secure and that it takes approximately 15 years to become established in a good job and then to lose it through changes. He suggests that management should offer the man, if he is physically and mentally sound for the job, the best possible job available and the worker has to accept that this is the best that can be done for him. Pictures over this speech of man, wearing collarless shirt with towel around his neck, white cap and dark glasses, using cup on metal rod and extracting small amount of molten metal from furnace. Good shot of man as he pours molten metal into small cast. Man in overalls sitting on barrel in front of furnaces, smoking cigarette and watching black cat sitting on other end of barrel, drinking from small container. This is a good shot. Return to Windle as talking to Lufton. He believes that management have handled he situation near to perfect giving the union every advantage to discuss suggestions about the workers in order to keep distress to the minimum. Engine driving large shovel into furnace. Lufton's commentary states that change is easier to deal with in an industry, like steel, where things are expanding, as opposed to shipbuilding, which is contracting. Workers walking in steady stream. Man at controls of new cutting machine, seen in background. Lufton comments that during this change the shop stewards have remained calm, a result of years of good communication and relations between management and men. Lufton sits down with three men around crate on docks, with ships in background, having a cup of tea. Mass of cranes on dock. Interview with one of the men. Caption reads "John Talbot Ship Constructors and Shipwrights' Association". he says it is natural for workers to wonder if they will be replaced by a new machine. In the loft they have lost two template workers as a result of the new machine. Lufton asks if management were right to bring in the new machine. Another man, caption reads "Thomas Lynn, Shop Steward, The United Society of Boilermakers, Blacksmiths, Shipbuilders and Structural Workers" replies that the company had to in order to compete in an international market. Talbot continues that the workers understood that the machine was needed to compete with "The Japs". Cutting machine in action as sparks fly. Man at controls of machine. Old fashioned tape plays running tape from spool to spool, controlling the machine and template shape to be cut. Precision cutting end of machine as cuts out outline in metal. Another cutting instrument working several feet away. Man at controls as he watches cutting machine. Control panel with buttons and knobs. Woman at controls of large computer. Lufton's commentary states that this computer can do the bookkeeping of 60 banks in the London area, thus replacing the need for bank clerks. Lufton as he interviews young woman, caption reads "Penny Sullivan, National Union of Bank Employees". She says the older people did not want to accept the computer but the younger ones were interested in it. Lufton interviews her at her desk as she sits behind a typewriter. The staff received training about the computer and they all went to the computer centre where the material from their computer is transmitted to. Group of employees walking into computer centre on tour. Man shows them something on desk. Girl seated at machine that looks like a very large typewriter typing. Ticker tape coming out of machine and being torn off by girl. Another woman runs ticker tape through machine as people watch. Cabinet with four spools of tape revolving as reflection of faces in glass. Sullivan feels other branches are technophobic but her branch has embraced the new ideas. Woman in changing room in factory as seen in mirror as one young woman walks up to powder her face.
Electrical engineering company taken over by bigger company and improvements made. Pan left over woman working at machines. Lufton interviews older woman. Caption reads "Mrs Mason - National Union of General and Municipal Workers". She says the girls were worried for their jobs but now they feel more secure as more orders come in. She says many did leave due to the changes but wishes that they had stayed through the teething problems as they would now be earning more money. Two girls working at machine. Man watching precision metal cutter. Man in uniform working in railway yard. Man at controls of smelting machine. Man wearing dark glasses at Steelworks. Eddie Thomas (Welshman from earlier in the film) puts cigarette in his mouth and lights it from match offered by Lufton. Lufton commentary asks if workers should look on productivity ideas as management does. Thomas says, not very helpfully, that productivity is up to management and not the worker as it is no his job. Colin Windle, steel worker, says that the management and workers have to stop fighting but only when you, i.e. the workers, have got the best deal you can get.
Interview with Harry Douglass, caption reads "General secretary Iron and Steel Trades Confederation, Member of the General Council of Trades Union Congress". Douglass thinks that the unions, the employers and the government have a national problem. The national economy can only be successful if these three parties co-operate, which he believes steps are being taken to do this now. If this happens, then he feels fear will be alleviated and productivity will mean a better standard of living and secure jobs for the workers. he feels the efficiency of the plant should be the concern of both workers and management and all plans should be put before the workers for joint consultation. he emphasises that if management take notice of what the workers have said, then they will find the workers will take notice of what the management say. Mrs Mason says she thinks management are trying to "come down to our level". Still smoking, Eddie Thomas thinks management could do more to speak to men in the factory. He has seen some attempt to speak to the workers but not enough. Thomas, wearing white gloves, examines sheet of metal. pauses as he looks and thinks as camera zooms in. he examines another piece as it comes out of the machine. Zoom out to others working with him.


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