Cars, women & politicians. All things you would expect to find in a racey novel. Made in Dagenham, the storey of the Dagenham women who in 1968 took on their bosses at the Ford car plant demonstrates the ability of woman to get stuck in and fight the good fight. The women stitched together the covers on the Cortinias and Zephrys coming of the production line and had to have a minimum of two years machinist experience. Inspite of this, they were not given the same grading or pay structure as the men who were immediately put on a skilled grade. Ford had re-classified the work the women did to unskilled. To add further insult to injury, teenage male floor sweepers at the plant were placed on the same pay grading as the machinst. So the women decided to go out on strike against sexual discrinination and to "demand pay which reflects the job you do whether you have a dick or not." They were out on the picket lines for three weeks and found a staunch supporter in Barbra Castle, Secretary of State at the time, before receiving 92 per cent of the mens wages. This strike proceeded The Equal Pay Act of 1970 and earned its place in the history books.
In a recent interview with some of the 187 women of Dagenham Ford Plant, who took part in the strikes, one of the women described the job they did. "We were upholsterers" .
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