I was at a Mass Meeting of union members back in the 1980s when the Big Boss came down to address the Workers.
The printing company was planning to “work in teams,” and “work smarter, but not harder.
” Yeah Right!
After spending quite some time preaching on the merits of the new system and how it was a “win-win” situation for everybody at the company, the boss paused and said, “Are there any questions?”
Agonising silence followed and then a voice pops up at the the rear of the meeting.
In a gruff, sarcastic tone the questioner asks his question.
“What are we going to get out of it then?” “This workin’ smarter stuff in teams.”
Proudly the Big Boss proclaimed, “JOB SATISFACTION.”
“Well, Fuck me,” the questioner retorted.
“Job satisfaction never bought my kids a square meal or clothes for their back.”
The Big Boss turned on his heels and strode quickly away.
Warren Pietsch worked night shift for many years and would get his wife to tape the Friday night AFL football match so he could watch it when he got home from work.
An innocent Leading Hand unaware of this in the beginning, strolled up to Warren and started to tell him who was winning.
Warren immediately covered his ears and walked away so his replay of the match would not be spoilt.
The Leading Hand who over the years had seen Warren play many jokes on fellow employees decided that here was a perfect opportunity for pay back.
About every half hour he would approach Warren and start sprouting out the latest scores of the games and Warren would cover his ears and disappear.
This little game continued for several weeks with the same result until one night the Leading Hand sought out Ian Bailey who I think came to and from work in the same car with Warren.
Just before Knock Off Time, the Leading Hand handed Ian a note and asked him to give it to Warren at the time clock.
Ian not knowing what was in the note, obligingly did so.
Guess what was in the note.
I’VE SAID IT BEFORE AND I WILL SAY IT AGAIN … WHY ARE PEOPLE SO CRUEL? – The Toff (A. Riley)
“Wadya think about that little Statement from The Toff″.
“I’ll answer that with one little story mate, it goes like this….”
One winter’s day Alex is on his way to work at Netley, and the rain was fairly bucketing down.
Alex had just driven past the Rex Hotel when he spies poor old Bob Miller up ahead.
Bob is struggling in the wet to keep his pushbike on the road when our “Hero” sees a huge puddle of muddy water just ahead of Bob.
So quite deliberately he speeds up and sends a huge Tsunami of Water crashing down on Bob.
So Bob is covered in stinking muddy water courtesy of Riley. When Bob gets to work he tries to find the Cruel Alex, but can’t.
Not many people saw Alex that day as it is rumoured that he spent most of it hiding in the women’s toilet.
“Bloody Hell. That’s the worst act of cruelty I’ve ever heard of cobber”.
“Ain’t it just!”
The unfortunately named ‘Minda Bus” was late and had just unloaded its cargo of “Incurables” on the wet slippery footpath on the corner of Richmond and Marion Roads.
The rain was belting down on this cold wintry day in the City of Churches. Then they were off, galloping wildly down the road to the Government Printing Office entrance.
I was waiting to see the Superintendent. I was in the foyer and I could see the entrance gates! I looked down at my watch it was getting terribly close to 7.55 AM.
I watched the ungainly mob struggle into the home stretch. Some with their work bags on their heads and others with sodden copies of that morning’s “Advertiser clutched over their eyes.
But they were saturated, wet all the way through, they looked miserable and lonely!
They were within feet of the glass front door entrance. Ah! Warmth and dryness beckoned inside.
I looked at my watch again as the minute hand clicked on to 7.55 A.M.
Then a ghostly white hand flicked the front door lock shut with a resounding “CLICK!”
The first of the Bus riders slammed into the glass door! What the flippin flop, it was locked!
The others arrived banging on the glass and shaking the door.
“LET US IN,” they cried in unison.
But Bert looked up, tapped his watch and said, “You All know the Rules.” “Go around to the other entrance”.
And with that Bert walked off!
The last thing I saw was a group of dripping wet angry workers with murder in their eyes chasing Bert down the machine room passage.
Top Photo: Keith Luce (the Goose) letterpress and offset printer, went back home to England; the late Laurie Blackwell, Letterpress Printer and Gentleman and yes, on the end is Lew Morrison, Letterpress Printer and Sailor.
It was hard putting this post together as the photo Lew Morrison lent me was a bit fragile and so I had to split it into two images.
I did my best though?
According to Lew the photo was taken in 1982 at the Netley Complex, and sadly not many of our comrades pictured are with us today.
Left to Right: the late Warren (Abo) Pietsch hot metal compositor and head bullet loader; the late Brian Stevens, Jobbing Comp and bullshitter; the late John Dawe, small offset printer and camel driver; the late George Palmer, Letterpress Printer and Englishman; the late Harry (the Horse) Kinder, brilliant comp and mad punter and finally the late Bill Hodge, offset printer and table tennis champ.
I found this old photo the other day which I thought you might like for your files.
It was taken at the 1981 Guv Christmas Party held in the quadrangle between the Main plant and the Planning and Pay Offices.
Left to Right are: David Barber (Apprentice Comp), Jamie Black (Apprentice Machinist), Kym Morrison (Apprentice Machinist) and Mike Carter (Machinist).
Interestingly Mike Carter and I were ‘drafted’ into the Sales Office about a year or so later and have recently renewed our friendship in Melbourne where we both now live.