Flashback: Angry Briggs car workers, police officers allowed back in pubs and chaos at A&E
- Credit: Romford Library
A look back at the biggest local stories from this day 20, 40 and 60 years ago.
Tension was mounting among 15,000 hourly-paid Briggs car workers, including 10,000 local men in the Dagenham plants, over “standardisation” concessions demanded by company spokesmen at London talks with leaders of 21 trade unions.
A Ford Motor company spokesman said he could not comment on the secret proposals being considered by trade union chiefs but they were making several demands.
These included union agreement to compulsory overtime working in Briggs plants at Dagenham, Doncaster and Southampton, banning of traditional Briggs workshop meetings in lunch hours and banning of the customary 10-minute tea breaks in favour of a trolley service on the job.
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Company proposals to standardise Briggs wages and working conditions to bring them into line with Ford car workers were estimated to mean heavier wage packets for the majority of Briggs workers.
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The battle to get bobbies on the beat back into the pubs had been won.
Police were given back the power to pay cursory visits to pubs thanks to a new law that had just come into action.
It had been welcomed by Havering publicans, who were becoming increasingly alarmed at the number of violent outbreaks in their bars and Romford MP Michael Neubert, who helped spearhead the Bill.
For the previous six years, the shutters had been down on casual visits to pubs after a High Court judge ruled in 1971 that police were not legally entitled to enter licensed premises unless called to a disturbance or invited by the landlord.
Terry Mansworth, who ran the New Inn, Squirrels Heath Lane, Hornchurch, and was deputy chairman of the Romford, Brentwood and Billericay Licensed Victuallers Association, said: “We’re happy with the change. This is something we’ve been hoping for. “We feel this will help the publican in the execution of his duties, especially at closing times, and we hope it will have a calming effect on the disturbance in pubs.”
Chaos hit the Accident and Emergency Unit at Oldchurch Hospital, Romford.
Up to 40 people at a time were waiting on trolleys.
Other patients were being kept on stretchers in ambulances in parking bays outside as they waited for space, keeping the emergency vehicles from being able to respond to calls.
Emergency action was being taken by health chiefs to increase bed capacity at Oldchurch by 60 and speed up the admission process ready for the expected winter rise in demand.
The seriousness of the situation came to light when health watchdogs mounted one of their regular monthly monitoring checks on the department as part of the London-wide Casualty Watch scheme to check on how patients are being dealt with.