The Maypole and Southall Green

Working Conditions

                        Strictness regarding hygiene was enforced at all times. No smoking allowed. Working hours 6 am. to 8 am., half-an-hour for breakfast: 8.30 am. to 1.00 pm., one hour dinner: 2.00 pm. to 6.00 pm. Monday to Friday: 6am. to 12 pm. noon on Saturdays – Day Shift. Night Shift – 10 pm. Sunday to 6.0 am. Monday, then 6.00 pm. to 6.00 am. Monday to Friday with the one-and-a-half hours breaks. No extra was paid for Night Shift, which was worked alternate weeks. Those on daywork hours were 8.00 am. to 1.00 pm., one hour dinner: 2.00 pm. to 6.00 pm. Monday to Friday, 8.00 am. to 12 pm. noon Saturdays. There were no tea-breaks whilst at work, but the employees were allowed to take their cans of tea into the factory, but no alcohol.

                        Each employee was given a number, which was stamped on a brass disk. These hung on boards in the entrance hall and could be taken off and inserted into slots around a time clock which, when opened, revealed a circle of boxes which registered the time the disk was dropped in. A five-minute grace was allowed, after which you were not allowed to start till after the first break, thus losing two hours wages. Late too many times meant the sack.

                        All employees directly connected with the process of the manufacture of the margarine were supplied with whites – cap, coat, trousers and aprons. These had to be put into the cloakrooms next to the time office. They had your work number on them and were changed regularly, by the laundry staff.

                        Because of the vast amount of water used in some parts of the factory, the men working there used to wear wooden clogs. These they had to supply themselves.