In the early sixties I had a job at Nightingale Chemicals,Sylicate Division.( I.C.I)I was the operator of a furnace that created sylicate out of sand.It was a revolving barrel furnace really and it occasionally went wrong.
At this point in my life I was still a militant and an "angry young man."I had a social conscience but no spiritual dimension.I was driven by anger,ego and frustration with my life.I believed that idealogy could solve all the problems in the world.In fact I was a member of the Australian Labor Party.
I worked twelve hour shifts on the furnace,in turn with Hans Weiss,who came from Germany.We were making a lot of overtime,which caused some resentment in the junior management,especially a young chemist.During this time I was elected the Union Delegate to the A.W.U.,for I was verbose,militant and focused.The Union was not militant and things were moving very slowly on pay matters and other things.I was itching to exercise my Ego,on behalf of the workers and soon enough an occasion arose.
One of the workers was fired for abusing one of the management and he brought his complaint to me.I went to the management to see if I could resolve the problem,but they really didn't want to negotiate with a twenty one year old boy.So the problem became a crisis and I had to call a strike meeting,which was well attended by my supporters.I had been on an off-day so I turned up in my suit and addressed the meeting from a table top.My supporters proposed and seconded motions and a strike was called.I approached the management again and demanded that the worker be reinstated and that something be done about pay claims at the same time.They just laughed me out of the office telling me I had really done it now.I hadn't called the Union for I felt that they were not militant enough.
However because I wasn't stupid I had done my intelligence gathering and it was good.I found out that if the factory didn't produce so much sylicate for I.C.I.they would be penalised in the hundreds of thousands.So I called a strike and put pickets outside the gates.I then went to the local pub to await events.Soon enough the top manager came for a talk but I was getting nowhere until I brought up the contract penalties.This caused them to have a board meeting and the management were ordered to negotiate with me.
First of all they asked what I wanted and I told them that the worker must be reinstated.They then offered me a job in management but I couldn't be bought so I stuck to my guns.The director was forced to come down to the public bar and negotiate with me,which was humiliating for him and deliberate on my part.I met him some years later and he still wouldn't talk to me.So it was a clash of the egos I suppose.
I went on from there to become a delegate for the "Builder's Laborers Federation",a militant group that fitted down to the ground.It was so militant it eventually was de-registered by the "Power Elite."I eventually left the Union Movement behind after they didn't stick up for me.I was working sand-blasting at I.C.I. for a painting company.The union delegate was my partner and a lazy one he was,sitting down on the job all the time.Anyway the management complained about the slow pace of work and somebody had to be fired and it was me.I wasn't going to fink on the other guy so l lost my job