2002/34 David Livingstone interviewed in his own home in Edinburgh by Sarah Bromage on 30th July 2002
David Livingstone has worked in many printing firms in Edinburgh. He has been actively involved in unions since beginning work in the printing industry and was appointed a full time union official with work including representing SOGAT at the STUC, TUC and National Executive.
000 Always a Christmas Party for children. 150 people worked at Simpson label.
024 Production activities of Simpson label. Works outing.
041 Papermaking machinery injury at Inglis Mill. Dragged into machinery. Took pictures of injury. Another injury of man who walked under the cutting machine.
075 Boy decapitated working at mill. First aid equipment non existent. Bad accidents in mills. People often got drowsy and fell into machines.
098 Boy killed in Davidson's by falling into machine.
105 John Connor's mill; could easily have fallen into hydropulper
121 Accident rate of papermaking easily ten times the level of the printing industry. As union rep would go down if there was an accident and take pictures. Many mills would remove guards to make the job easier, cause accidents.
143 Mills shutting; accident rate lowering but less people.
155 Waddies was the best employer. Hire a train to go to Burnt Island, Christmas Party. Golf section and angling section.
166 Playing golf at Waddies. Days outing to good golf course, all levels of management went. Jokes played on golfers.
183 Divisions between departments. Some departments thought they were better. Votes on holidays, arguments.
202 Firm was family, if there was a problem would stick together. Litho taking over letterpress, problems with replacement of labour. Letterpress redundant.
222 Social outings together promoted well being. Negotiating wage increase for attendance. Was £3.50 but was linked to wages so is now £27.
239 Negotiating attendance. To increase productivity. Waddies had moved and gave staff travel money. Attendance pay; used this money in negotiations.
253 People stayed with the firm, a lot were local. Many people from Balerno. When Galloways closed were recruiting, were good conscientious workers. Hourly paid. Bonus scheme in Waddies was not much. Had quota which had to make and then would work for group bonus, not individual.
282 Men got more bonus wages. Rates of bonus wages; wages he negotiated
296 Print trade had low basic wage 'book rate'. No one worked for book rate, they worked for more.
312 Waddies paid best and then Pillans and Wilson.
320 Man who was offered a job at Waddies won 2 million, so did not take up jobs. People would move to other firms for more money.
333 Jobs stopped being advertised by union. Job in Waddies was union advertised. People would get their family into the industry. Youth employment exchange was where he got his first job
352 Bonus schemes were good, but now have disappeared. Most jobs were advertised internally. Simpson label mostly did black and white work. Dutch outfit in charge now. Was a family firm run by 4 brothers and their father.
377 Some firms you were always visiting and others you never went to. Always problems with Letts. The better the chapel the less you were there. Would only call union in when they could not handle the problem internally.
394 Simpson label had a father of the chapel. Waddies had a father of the chapel and a mother of the chapel. Letts had a father of the chapel, deputy father of the chapel, clerk of the chapel. But he was never out of the place. Constant problems.
403 2 people in SOGAT Edinburgh office, picked up work as it came. Would have certain firms. Money, working hours and discipline were the main issues. Some mills you would have to be a member of union. Depended on the Father of the Union, most people joined.
442 SOGAT was an expensive union, but people got good service. Non union had to follow union pay levels or no one would work for them.
458 Screen printers were very unionised. Industry desperate at the moment. Waddies and Pillans and Wilson merging and this means that the admin section will go.
487 Machinery good at these firm, good quality printers with a good service.