Wednesday, February 13

Sad Faces

I see that Barrow shipyard boss Murray Easton tells us that Barrow needs to spruce up its image. He tells us “I love the area but Barrow does not have a good reputation in the rest of the country” and that “We need to look at our image and think how do we sell Barrow factually and forcibly to try and counter the image perceived by people in southern England.” Well I can’t argue with that, most of the Southern softies that I pick up are really surprised by how nice the area and its folk really are. But maybe he should take a look a closer look at the morale within the shipyard workforce itself. I pick these folk up every day and not one single one of them has any sort of enthusiasm for their workplace. Miserable faces and likening work to a prison sentence are the norm amongst the workforce, particularly those who work within the DDH. Why is this? Is it management style; is it work conditions, is it the industry itself, just what is the problem? Maybe if he had a happy workforce who went to work in the morning with the right attitude and with a smile on their faces, outsiders just may get a better impression of Barrow itself. Maybe they should have Japanese style morning exercises followed by chants of “yeah let’s go build a submarine” Eh!


Joe said...

Hi Bob, I wouldn't worry about the image myself, Barrow's appeal is that it's different and nothing like the South! When I first went there I realised I'd been nowhere like it, it's unique, still is. Plenty of things could be fixed but it's a great town.

Tom said...

I left Barrow in 1969 to further education in the East Midlands. It was there that I first came into contact with people from 'darn sarf'. I soon learned that anywhere North of somewhere between Hemel Hempstead and Oxford was somewhere that these 'civilised' people didn't really think about.

Mr Easton should know that no matter what you say to these people it still remains some dark and dirty place. Some of the more enlightened ones do venture into this mysterious territory and discover that it is a quite beautiful place.

Turning to Vickers (or whatever it's called) some things never change. All my forebears worked there and in 1969 probably 90% of the town's working population worked there, yet not one of them encouraged me to go into the place. That total lack of encouragement probably was the prime instigator to leaving the town. I did a 3 week stint as a labourer just before leaving and discovered it was a pretty depressing place.

Yet it is the home of some of the most advanced cutting edge technology around, that is the great paradox of the place. This little town at the end of a 30 mile cul-de-sac houses this advanced technology.

Probably the worst incident when I was there was when a group of potential apprentices were shown around the stream of 'go on lads get the hell out of it' was quite distressing'.

It's changed hands a few times since those days but still sounds 'pretty depressing.'

Bob said...

Joe:Hi Joe nice to see you back in action mate.

Bob said...

Tom:Further education eh! You lucky man, due to circumstances, which when I look back are a strange story, I never had the chance to attend school much after the age of fourteen.
Mr Easton seems to think that our hard drinking, fighting on Friday night culture doesn't help him attract the more civilized Southern folk here. But some say that the low pay and bad conditions are the reason for the lack of interest.

As you say Vickers has always had that lack of enthusiasm from it's workers. Makes me wonder if its the actual armaments industry where the problem lies. Maybe producing goods which ultimately are designed for mass destruction gets to the hidden conscience somehow? I have read that the old timers always called the liners such as Oriana which were built here the happy boats mmm.