David belongs to: The Doxford Engine Friends Association
David was born in Sunderland. He served his apprenticeship at North East Marine shipyards as a fitter. After working at sea David became an Assistant Manager at Doxford's ship yard overseeing the installation and testing of Doxford engines.
David was interviewed by Carl Greenwood on 8 November 2005. The interview took place at the Interviewee's living room and lasted 1 hour, 36 minutes and 40 seconds.
Industrial action at Doxford's
"They had a ban on overtime, which meant they still continued to build engines but not after five o’clock"
They had a ban on overtime, which meant they still continued to build engines but not after five o’clock, they didn’t work overtime- they’d work night shift- that’s not overtime, but they wouldn’t work overtime, and there was always an element of overtime. And of coursed when it came to sea trails, overtime was virtually obligatory because you can’t take a ship out to sea, and do trials and bring her back between half past seven and five o’clock in the afternoon, sometimes you were out overnight so you had to have overtime, so because there was solidarity in the AU as it happened, that’s the fitters, as it was then, the AU, they went on, my men went on an overtime ban as well.
So it was a ship for the Bank Line, and Bank Line of London was a very, very good customer of ours- we produced dozens and dozens of ships for them, and they really liked us and we gave them a good job, and this Bank Line ship was coming up for sea trials, and we all knew, the men knew and I knew that the ship, after sea trials, on the assumption that everything went well on the sea trials, which it usually did, she was due to pick up cargo in London two days later, you see. But if the men went on overtime ban, we couldn’t run the sea trials, we were going to make it bad for our best customer and I thought this is not on because the dispute wasn’t with my men, they were just backing up the guys who did have a dispute.
So I took, took my heart in my hands, I suppose and I sent orders out and I brought all the fitters into- we had a little machine shop, and I brought them into the machine shop and I got up on a, climbed up on a bench and said, “now, look, lads. You know as well as I do, I don’t have to tell you that Bank Line are good customers and you’re going to give them a lot grief if we don’t take this ship on sea trials.” I said, “I know there’s a dispute going on,” I said, “and you know it’s got nothing to do with me, and I understand your feelings,” I said. “But,” I said, “we should take this ship on sea trials,” and I said, “and that’s what I’m asking you to do.” And I got down off the bench and I just walked out on them.
And I went and sat in my office and about 20 minutes later the shop steward came in very sheepishly and said, “Mr. Aris, we’ll run the sea trials.” And I told him, “if you,” I said, “if you run the sea trails, I’m not getting involved in the dispute, I’m not going to argue your case,” I said, “I’m arguing for the ship owner, not for you, and not for me, but the…” And they did it, and I’ve got it written down there because it was one of the few times when I came up like that against the unions and, and persuaded them that they weren’t doing a good, that they weren’t doing the right thing.
David has 17 memories in the memorynet:
David's memories with a Safety theme:
David's other memories:
- Father’s time at sea
- Apprenticeship at North East Marine
- Going to sea
- Swimming in ballast tanks on the tankers
- Returning to the North East and Doxford's
- Role at Doxford’s
- Industrial action at Doxford's
- Going on sea trials
- Accident on sea trials
- Leaving Doxford’s
- Workers at Doxford's
- Engineer's Certificate
- Continuous Certificate of Discharge
- Swimming pool
- North East Marine Guide for Apprentices
- Sea Trials