When I was One of the Kamikaze Five

I had almost forgotten this when I was about 22 yrs old in 1974 , I and 4 others were used as sacrificial lambs ,by the union members . We were in Clive Jenkins white collar workers union ASTMS. We thought we weren’t being paid the going rate for a Computer commisioning engineer .The union wanted to have maximum impact on the company and the workers  losing the least amount of money. A work to rule was agreed upon by the members.

Of course as soon as 5 members stopped work because the procedure wasn’t correct , the company suspended us. We thought it was funny at first . The other members then went on strike in support of the kamikaze five. The five then got letters saying if they didn’t return to normal work within 5 days your contract will be terminated.We were now playing chess with the senior Managers of ICL in Putney.

The strike went on for about 3 weeks , as far as I was concerned I was now sacked and it got pretty bitter. We were picketing the blue collar workers who were still going to work. It was mid-winter as well. A compromise then had to be reached so both sides didn’t lose face. We had lost 3 weeks wages which is about 6% of our yearly salary. Lots of the boys had big morgages as well and were working sat and sun and shift work to pay them. Shift was an extra 25% as well. So some had lost 10-12% of their yearly wage. So there wasn’t an easy solution. I was happy that after 3 weeks I still had a job in the end. We did get some rise and some promises.

NOW EVERYTHING IS MADE IN CHINA OR INDIA

tHE KAMiKAZe FIVE FACTORY LONG SHUT IN 1991

Brian Pepper, Clive Lombari, Gary Smith, Terry French, brian from Ashwell

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