What does the cheaper end of the Fourth Estate always bring up whenever the subject of Britain in the Seventies is brought up? Workers downing tools at the flimsiest of pretexts, and especially at places like British Leyland, which is held to be some kind of past national joke. Lost production at car plants, readers will know by now, was A Very Bad Thing Indeed.
And keeping the production lines going is nowhere more vital than Ellesmere Port’s Vauxhall factory, which has just secured a deal (and whisper it quietly, it’s down to tabloid hate figure Vince Cable) to produce the next generation of the Astra once the current model ceases production. Thousands of jobs at the plant depend on it doing better than rival factories elsewhere in Europe.
But this has been summarily disregarded by Rupe’s downmarket troops at the Super Soaraway Currant Bun, all because Vauxhall sponsor the England football team and it’s Euro 2012 time. So the idea of keeping the lines going, and production continuing, becomes secondary to letting the workers manning them watch the next Ingerlund match live – in their workplace.
Won't have won any business, though
On first reading, the thought occurred that this would have been a good story to put out on the first day of April. But the Sun is apparently serious: “the killjoys are out in force ... mean ... for Vaux sake! It’s ‘elf and safety madness”. Yeah, right. Who needs a few dozen Astras anyway? Why-oh-why does this rotten thing called “work” intrude on the faux worship of the great God football?
What else would the downmarket part of the Murdoch empire like the workers at Vauxhall and elsewhere to import into their workplaces for the duration of Ingerlund matches, and goodness knows what other sporting events? I mean, you’ve got to do it properly, haven’t you? So how about a few pool tables, darts, some nice comfy chairs and a bar dispensing lots of beer?
Well, it’s football, isn’t it? What do these management killjoys think they’re at, telling the Great British Workforce that the main reason they come to work is to, er, work? And those Nissan bods have done the same! What’s the world coming to? I mean, it’s not as if we’re saying they just down tools, just that they, well, get to chill while the Ingerlund match is on, right?
Wrong. The Murdoch press was first to condemn downing tools all those years ago, and quick to point out that, if nothing gets made, you might as well not be in business. It’s no different nowadays: the production line has to keep rolling, and its workers can’t be distracted for very obvious reasons. Like someone’s new Vauxhall falling apart on a crowded motorway.
The Sun: first for exclusive and mindless crap. No change there, then.