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.



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

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