Full marks to The Guardian here

On the Bristol Bus Company boycott:

At the time, the Bristol Omnibus Company was notorious for racial discrimination in recruitment. Hackett says labourers from the colonies and former colonies were allowed to “wash the buses at night”, but barred from the better-paid work on the bus crews. This segregation was not only upheld by the bus company, but also vigorously defended by the local branch of the Transport and General Workers’ Union, which did not want its members to lose jobs to immigrants.

They even point out that it was a nationalised company too. government and unions, at the time, being more racist that the society around both. Good on them for actually telling the story straight.

30 thoughts on “Full marks to The Guardian here”

  1. My dad joined the Bristol bus company just before the boycott began.

    There were worries that female clippies might be at risk working with these untrustworthy foreigners.

  2. “…vigorously defended by the local branch of the Transport and General Workers’ Union, which did not want its members to lose jobs to immigrants.”

    Not quite true. The bus company was understaffed and having trouble recruiting and so overtime was freely available. It was this that the unions were defending.

  3. So the Union was putting the interests of its members ahead of foreigners? Sounds like that’s a good thing to me.

  4. “So the Union was putting the interests of its members ahead of foreigners? Sounds like that’s a good thing to me.”
    How had the union failed to recruit the new staff?

  5. Similar to many other unions: choke the supply of new entrants to maintain high wages for existing members. Usually it’s done by mandating lengthy training programmes; but outright discrimination does the job too.

  6. @Andrew Now explain what’s wrong with that? If they’d asked the electorate, there was no pressure to encourage immigration to reduce bus ticket prices.
    Surprisingly, discrimination is not a dirty word.

  7. ” Usually it’s done by mandating lengthy training programmes; but outright discrimination does the job too.”

    Training people to do a decent job is bad how? Importing millions of third-worlders to undercut British workers is good how?

  8. Jonathan said:
    “So the Union was putting the interests of its members ahead of foreigners? Sounds like that’s a good thing to me.”

    Good for the union, good for the members. Not so good for the rest of society, if the cost of bus services goes up.

    And it’s not even an immigration issue – the blacks in question were here already.

  9. We’re talking about a period when there was an unholy alliance between the Conservative and Labour parties. The Conservatives favoured immigration to keep wages down in the interests of their friends in industry. The Labour party for the same reason. To preserve a low paid working class and their power base. Neither was interested in the opinion of the majority of the electorate. Both were interested in maintaining the status quo

  10. Not saying anything has changed, in the interval since. It is still the policy of the the Conservative & Labour parties. Although Labour now favours replacement rather than suppression.

  11. @Jonathan. ‘ Training people to do a decent job is bad how? Importing millions of third-worlders to undercut British workers is good how?’

    A little history pre-Thatcher: Labour shortage; closed shops; demarcation.

    After the deaths of so many in WWI & II, post-1945 UK had a manpower shortage particularly at the lower end of the skill/wage range. So rightly or wrongly immigrant labour was considered to be the solution.

    First, a Union insists only ‘trained’ people can do a particular job, even if a monkey could do it. Then demand long training period, say 12 months whereas 1 week would do. Then Union rules say you have to be a ‘trained’ operative to get Union membership. Then closed shop principles apply, only Union members can be employed.

    Milton Friedman: a Union looks after the interests of only two groups of people, its members and its officials.

  12. ‘Bristol Omnibus Company was notorious for racial discrimination in recruitment.‘

    It was the Unions, not the company.

    In the days of Closed Shop, only Union workers could be employed or else, ‘Everybody out!’

    If you had no Union membership, no job. Unions refused membership to immigrants. Companies with Closed Shop agreements could not employ immigrants because they were not Union members.

    The Left does a good job of airbrushing out of the history record the ghastly things it did which it currently blames others for doing.

  13. “After the deaths of so many in WWI & II, post-1945 UK had a manpower shortage particularly at the lower end of the skill/wage range. ”
    The number of the workforce killed during WWII was trivial. British industry had managed war-time production with a large part of its workforce conscripted into the military. It was the postwar demand for consumer goods & services would have caused an upward pressure on wages. The country could have chosen to increase productivity by modernisation. It’s what Germany did.. But modernisation would have taken capital investment. Greater efficiency & productivity from the workforce would have created a skilled, affluent worker. More aspirational. Less likely to vote Labour

  14. @ JohnB:

    ” After the deaths of so many in WWI & II, post-1945 UK had a manpower shortage”

    In WW1 Britain lost about 750,000 military and civilian killed and yet nobody saw a need to import ‘workers’. In WW2 Britain lost just under 400,000 mil. and civ. and yet the powers that be decide to import Africans to ‘rebuild the country’. Sounds like a BS excuse to me.

    Oh, and the Government literally held an emergency Cabinet meeting when the Windrush unloaded its cargo of trouble at Tilbury. Again, it seems strange to me.

  15. How all this worked in practise. Back in the 70’s I did some work for a company produced photographic film. Union closed shop. Restrictive practises rife. The processes occur in the dark, yes? Most of the workforce spent half of its time asleep. Many had second jobs. (Milkman was favourite.) A coating machine had a crew of 7. You could run it with 3. Mostly they did.
    Some of the machines were the ones made gun camera film for Spitfires. Coated a single layer of monochrome emulsion at under 10 metres a minute. A modern machine could coat multiple layer colour film at over 100 metres a minute. The factory’s been a housing estate since the 80s

  16. “Bristol Omnibus Company was notorious for racial discrimination in recruitment”

    Was it, or is it just the only one talked about now? The impression I get is that many places were like that then. Which isn’t surprising given it was the unions pushing a lot of the discrimination – unlikely that Bristol was the only place they tried it.

  17. ‘One day in early 1963, Roy Hackett was walking in Broadmead, Bristol, when he saw a man crying. The man was outside the Bristol Omnibus Company. He told Hackett he was weeping because the company had told him he could not get an interview for a job there solely because he was black. Almost 60 years later, and despite all he has seen in his 92 years, it still sticks in Hackett’s throat – “not because he was a Jamaican, or foreign, but because he was black. It is degrading.”’

    Would you have been happier little girl if it had been because he was Jamaican?

    And why wasn’t he in Jamaica?

    In most of the world, foreigners are treated as . . . foreigners. The West has been corrupted into thinking foreigners are to be treated as special people. To the West’s destruction.

  18. Memory’s now caught up with me. The old machines ran 4 foot wide (120cm) film base in 600 metre lengths. Continuous process. They were joined and cut. (Doing that in complete darkness was fun.) Manual handling limited the roll widths & lengths. Modern machines ran 150cm wide base in 1200 metre reels with automatic joining & mechanical handling. Just in coated area the modern machines were 2000% more productive. You wonder the UK lost its photographic film industry long before digital?

  19. “In most of the world, foreigners are treated as . . . foreigners. ”

    How true that is. I’ve lived in two countries & operated in several more. Never have I treated as anything else but a foreigner. Sometimes to my benefit. Theycut you a little more slack. Mostly not. I’ve just paid 20% more for something than if I was Spanish. I know that, because last time my Spanish mate did the paying for me. I’m neither surprised not offended. I’m a foreigner FFS. Goes with the territory. If you don’t want to be treated like this, stay at home.

  20. ” In most of the world, foreigners are treated as . . . foreigners. The West has been corrupted into thinking foreigners are to be treated as special people. To the West’s destruction.”

    100% this.

  21. @BiS

    I remember that factory. A lot of silver and cyanide went down the drains/soakaways.
    Wouldn’t want to eat vegetables grown in the gardens of the new houses.

  22. Bloke in North Dorset

    bis,

    “ The country could have chosen to increase productivity by modernisation. It’s what Germany did.. But modernisation would have taken capital investment. Greater efficiency & productivity from the workforce would have created a skilled, affluent worker. More aspirational. Less likely to vote Labour”

    Yep they chose free markets, we had dirigisme forced on us and the closed shop must have been the most pernicious of all the policies, after nationalisation.

  23. Yeah, jgh. Like 20 year Mohamod bin Sloturrah, raised in the wreckage of Mogadishu, arrived here three seconds ago, and now holds a British passport is, um, British.

    It’s all one big cake mix. Outside of Tony Blair’s extended family, at least.

  24. “ Milton Friedman: a Union looks after the interests of only two groups of people, its members and its officials.”

    True, but he has the order wrong

  25. What Andrew C. said: primarily down to overtime – lots of mouths to feed (boomer children). Not sure keeping wages down was driving immigration so much as a manpower shortage – and people weren’t queueing up to be bus drivers. There’s a good book on the subject by Peter Catrell, ‘The Unsettling of Europe’, which details how migration reshaped not just the UK but the continent.

  26. The manpower shortage on the buses was partly a result of the unions forbidding women drivers – even women who’d driven lorries during the war. It’s a pity that Her Majesty, perhaps when she was just HRH, didn’t apply for a job driving buses just to see whether she’d be turned down as a woman.

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