Watched this film last night. I was pleasantly entertained by the adaptation of this piece of social history.
Back in 1968 the 187 ladies who stitched the leather seating at the Ford Motor Company Dagenham plant had their pay re-branded to ‘unskilled’ and as a result agreed via their union that they would ‘work to rule’ until management agreed to regrade their salaries as ‘semi-skilled’. Back in sixties things were settled and much done on a nod ad a wink, the unions sat right with management, everyone sat right with the workers and essentially although it seemed that everyone was working towards the future of economics ad the workers, the reality was that each was looking after themselves.
Until one day when a feisty female was asked to join the union meeting to make up numbers their side of the table, and in a moments madness the mouth engaged before the brain and an almighty ball started to roll. The film was excellent at showing the sexual divide during what was supposed to be a boom era, women were still the lesser class, expected to do as their husbands said and wanted. Me could strike and their women were expected to stretch out the strike pay, make do and manage as everything got harder. The scene of the two mothers talking, one the plant managers wife who despite her honours degree was still only the housemaid dutiful woman who echoed her husbands thoughts and views, the other the wife of a plant worker who had striked along side her husband who found herself the focus of what every woman has the right to be, was touching and showed no matter the social divide the sexual divided crossed all boundaries.
Who woud have thought that these 187 women could bring a whole factory to a stand stil, cause problems across the manufacturing country and even send ripples as far as the USA, where Ford effectively bullied that if women were granted equal pay, it would happen globally and all industry would collapse under the strain of wages.
This episode in history was the defining point where women began to have equal rights in the work place. A good watch.