bizarre research experiences

In the late 1980s when lean production was in full swing and Rover-Oxford, now part of the BMW group where the Mini is produced, was experimenting with CIP, I was asked by the TGWU, now UNITE, the union, to investigate the impact of lean on workers' health in final assembly plants in the UK.  With colleagues we investigated Rover's plant in Oxford.  I had arranged to meet the plant union convenor, Tom White.  I turned up at the factory's reception office, gave my name, contact person internally (Tom White - TGWU) and waited.  Ten minutes later a car pulled up and two very suited men jumped out and approached me, asked if I was Mr Stewart - "yes, that's me" - and we set off at speed in their car to the main assembly building.  Before I had a chance to work things out they asked why I was here - "to see whats up with the recent changes in operations" I said.  "Ah yes" said the man.  "Do you know Tom White and the T&G" I asked.  "Of course - all of us are in the T&G upstairs". Thinking that meant all was well I felt reassured.  After a few minutes the car stopped, one of them jumped out quickly and opened my door.  Strange, I thought - a bit fromal and thats not supposed to happen.  The full treatment but not like Tom - maybe he's making fun.  Before I had a chance to speak further I was rushed though the plant, past the assembly line and up some stairs.  "This is the way to the plant office?" I asked (meaning the convenor's office).  "Yes, yes, its this way the lead man insisted.  Up two further flights of stairs we went, over a gangway to an office full of people I'd never set eyes on before. "Ah, Mr Stewart I assume? Are we glad to see you.  Now, what do you think about this?" Before I could say anything, the main man, I guessed, thrust a steering wheel and part of a driving column in front of me.  "What you think? Look - it wont actually shift more than 45% this way....." I swallowed hard, looked round the room and met each of the various looks with a mixture of pity and terror.  Some of the looks were enquiring, some were warm and encouraging....yet others were, like me, already showing signs of tangible panic! ..........

...............[and what on earth do you imagine happened next............To be continued.]

Actions: Comments (1)


03 April 2014 13:33
The Inspector General by Gogol :) You should have used the confusion while it lasted! :)))

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