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Description

Yvonne left school at 16 (1962) and worked as a shorthand typist – bored. Eventually went to Addis (1963). The women she worked with became a substitute family – unhappy at home. Started as a packer on a line. Then moved to work on machines – then into training. Machines trimmed brushes and attached bristles. Very hot / or very cold. Dreaded visits of time and motion man. Joined TGWU union - disputes re. conditions not pay. Painful periods and having to stand all day. Talking to one another kept them sane. Smoking a massive issue – quick fag in toilets. Xmas time- went to club together. Left to work with a milliner, then into the army. Returned to Addis for c. 2 years – didn’t ‘come out’ in the factory because considered disgusting. When she moved in with her partner she went to work in Miles Laboratories (1972-74) – bottling medicine on the line. No time to talk. Excellent facities etc. Factories gave women a sense of who they were as individuals. Learned to be loyal and discreet. Perks – buy seconds but also randomly frisked.

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