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A collection of interviews and photographs recorded by Women's Archive of Wales in 2013-14

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VSE043 Anita Rebecca Jeffery, Christie-Tyler, Bridgend;Polikoffs, Treorchy

Anita describes living in a pre-fab, leaving school at 15 (1954) and starting as a machinist in Polikoff’s. Army and other clothes and bedding. First job – making men’s trouser flies. Stigma with factory work. Piecework and reaching targets. Promotion to larger Pfaff machine. Music, singing and waving. Custom when getting married – backcombing hair, sugar soap and chalk and in a truck to men’s dept. Smell of rats – All out. Plague of cockroaches. Acceptance of gay worker. Perks – cheaper suits and bedding. Pilfering – stealing suits! In Christie-Tyler she was a member of National Union of Furniture Trade Operatives. Polikoff’s – dispute re. time and motion. She became union rep. standing up for women. Them and us. Promoting women who were assertive to be on management’s side. Cotton spool rollers and a scarf. Serious accident with a presser and needle through fingers. Effect long term on her legs and eyesight. She left when pregnant – 1961. Started having paid holidays in late 1950s. Dances in Polikoff’s canteen with live bands and no alcohol. Miss Polikoff – she won c.1957. She returned to factory work in 1969/70 as a machinist making upholstery. Factory moved from Bridgend to Talbot Green. Stayed there 12 years. Piecework and some greedy workers. Story about engagement ring – honesty. Pride: ‘I was a manufacturer’. Prank and all machines blowing. Putting addresses in RAF uniform jacket pockets.
Part of this interview is available as an audio file
Anita Jeffery (second from left) coming second in the 'Miss Polikoff' competition