THIS WEEK IN 1981: Factory women vote for official

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Women machanists at the Frensham Road, Southsea, textile factory of Celestion Wood Ltd voted overwhelmingly to strike in protest against cuts in their wages.

But under the rules of their union – the National Union of Tailors and Garment Workers – they had to remain in work until called out on strike officially by the union’s executive board.

About 70 women at the factory stopped work claiming they had been ordered to raise productivity by 35 per cent or take a 35 per cent cut in pay.

They were on unofficial strike but re-entered the factory to hold the ballot which, under legislation and union procedures, had to be held on work premises and properly scrutinised.

District union official M Roberts announced the ‘overwhelming vote in favour of strike action’.

It was understood that there was only one union member who voted against strike action.

The union and the women said it would be impossible to increase productivity at the factory by the 35 per cent demanded by factory.

The increase would guarantee maintaining existing wage levels.