Louisa Sime

Vera Louisa Sime was born on 31 March 1930. She started working as a Dress Maker in her early age. She joined Fords at the age of 34 and retired at 60. Her mother and  two sisters worked at Fords. Her husband had started working  at Fords but did not stay long.

Vera  Sime was interviewed  on 13 August 2013. A few questions and answers are as follows :

Did you start working first at Ford?

I was a Dress Maker,  that was my first job. Anything to do with clothes.  I made men’s suits, everything. I started doing machining indoors  to  earn money, once I had the children, to help pay the bills.  I wanted a weekly paid job,  that is why I went to Fords, as at that time I had one sister working there.  

How did you travel to Ford?

At that time, a man from the Union used to pass this way. He picked me up and two others in his car and took to work. He also brought us home.

What was the salary when you started working?

It was a long time ago.  I can not exactly remember. Whilst on strike we got approximately seven pounds per week. 

How was the  salary?

No, not really, there was not enough money for family. We ere twin sisters, we got married together. We both lived with my  mother.  When both of us were 26 years, we had saved a eposit for a house.  We worked  hard , our husband’s  wages did not cover all bills despite having easonable jobs.

What kind of work you did and how many hours?

We made  upholstery or car seat covers. We did 40 hours of work per week. We got a lunch break. 

What was the condition of work?

When it rained, water came in and we had to brush rain water out before we started working. Toilets were in a very good condition.

Why Ford women went  on strikes in 1968 and 1984?

First one for grading. We went on strike. We had a meeting and  Barbara Castle suggested us to go back with equal pay and then press for a higher grade. We did not get the grade then.  We got the  grade after 19 years.

Did the strike benefit women?

Not immediately, it took several years and we never received total equal pay as women were eventually made redundant.  

Why you went to Parliament and how  you went there?

We went to Parliament for lobbing, for MP’s  backing.  he Union hired a coach which took us to Parliament. Only a few women
could go in to talk to Barbra Castle as there was not enough room.  

What was the reaction of men workers in the strike?

Some men, not all were against it. They thought it was for in money. They did not realise our wages contributed towards mortgage and tility bills etc. 

Can  you remember  any matter during the strike?.

We had a banner and it said  We want sex Equality’.  The anner was turned and it was folded over. It appeared as ‘  we want sex’. It  was  a it saucy so it was good that it happened.  We did not know the banner turned down.

Do you have any memory ?

Although the women worked hard, there was a good  atmosphere. We had laugh and a joke. If anyone retired, we had a party.  A lot of happy memories. 



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