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Floating Labour

“Now then, the other problem is, for want of a better word, there’s a lot of them are gypsies. They come and they go, you see, and there’s been economic reasons for them coming and going (...) You get to the stage where I say “If you don’t watch him I’ll give you a comb-full.” Now that’s a mill saying, it means he’ll do you a bad deed. He’ll put a comb in the wrong stuff and cost you thousands you see. And when you’re dealing with labour that’s (...) – static i.e. in a village like this, then you get to know them, and when you’ve got your Asians or your immigrant labour…. then eventually you get to know them and so you can weigh up their answers and their questions. But it’s the floating labour that’s the problem because, now I’m fairly good at assessing folk over three or four weeks, and if I make up my mind that it’s wrong, in that three or four weeks (...) – the way you look at them and you say “Well I think I backed the wrong ‘un there”. Invariably you’re right – , they seem to let you down, so – you know.”

Source Shift manager at Whiteheads Mill talks about immigrant labour 1960s-1980s
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