Tuesday, 11 March 2014

United Glass - letter about a strike


 13th February, 1960


I am writing to you personally to let you know the full facts behind the unofficial stoppage of work at our factory"

On Tuesday, 9th February, at an official meeting with Representatives of employees working under engineering conditions, the Management made an offer of a 42-hour week with a consequential increase of 3 1/2. per hour, with effect from the 28th February, 1960. Furthermore, it was said that if any National increase of pay was negotiated Nationally before Easter this would also apply at Charlton retrospectively to the 28th February.

This offer was not accepted and the Management were informed the next day by the Engineering Shop Stewards they were imposing forthwith an unofficial ban on overtime and a work to rule. This unofficial ban was put into effect but did not seriously interfere with the work with the rest of the plant.

However, on Friday morning, the 12th February, I went into the Shop to talk to engineering employees of the Bottle Machine              Maintenance Section.    Prior to this, instructions were given to the men of this section to be in their shop at 11am for me to talk to them.

These instructions were countermanded by the Shop Steward of that Section.  The instructions were again given by both the foreman and myself but in the presence of myself and other members of the management, the Shop Steward countermanded my instructions by telling the men that they were not to come forward to listen to what I had to say.  He was, therefore, given notice. 'The Engineering Shop Stewards then proceeded to call out on unofficial strike all sections of the plant on the grounds of victimization.

This issue is entirely separated from the issue of negotiating better conditions for engineering employees. The Management always discuss these matters through the proper trade Union channels. It concerns the action of a Shop Steward who has presumed that the Manager has not even the right to talk to his employees on the plant during working hours. The question of victimization does not arise. It is simply a question of an elementary principle of Management.

The dispute which arose from unofficial action in one engineering section, by the morning of Monday the 15th February will already have stopped .the whole plant for three days and seriously affected the earnings or non-engineering personnel

I wrote to you last July to give you the general background of our Charlton Works. 1959 was another bad year as a whole, but since the end of August the team work of Management and Employees in all departments has lead to better results, which has meant that the factory is running now at about break-even figures. There are sure signs that this progress will be mintained as long as we do not have unofficial action of this type originating from one small section.

I am relying on the continued support of all good Trade Unionists who should return to work.


Yours sincerely 





Paul G Cox, Esq.,

University College of North Staffordshire

Keele, Staffordshire.

Dear Mr. Cox,

Your letter of the 4th April has been passed on to me, and. in reply to your questions: we employ about 270 people, including 27 women, and make green and amber bottles on two furnaces, mainly for the whisky trade. Our main raw materials are sand which we get from two sources - inland from Faldhouse, West Lothian and coastal wind-blown sand from Gullane East Lothian; Limestone from Derbyshire; soda ash from Cheshire: and oil from Grangemouth. We also use a small amount of local coal. The bulk of production goes to the whisky trade in and around Edinburgh.

Yours sincerely,



 Works Manager.

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