Colin Rose was an Engineer and Union Convenor at the Westland subsidiary Normalair-Garrett and remembers the role of the Rate Fixer

Pay levels at Westland were determined by a Rate Fixer

He would allocate a set time to do a job and how much you were paid

Colin Rose, an Engineer and Union Convenor at Normalair-Garrett says it was never a good thing to argue with the Rate Fixer

You’d be allocated with a job that a rate fixer would assess. A rate fixer would consider that you can apply so many rivets or drill so many holes or bend and shape metal and he’d predict a time that was reasonable for you to complete that task. He’d then put in some contingency and mark-up to extend that time, and provided that you were happy with it, and he was happy with it, you’d then go off and achieve it in the best time possible. Obviously every minute, every minute you could reduce, or restrict the time allocated, was pennies in your pocket. You never killed the time the rate fixer gave you.

Interviewer: What do you mean by ‘you never killed the time, what do you mean’?

If he gave you an hour, you wouldn’t do it in a minute, because he would recover those 59 minutes bonus on the next job you clocked. So, you would be responsible on the time you took (a) to comply with the managerial requirements to get the job done but (b) as I say, you didn’t kill the relationship with the rate fixer because, if he felt he had been stung i.e. he pleaded too hard for extra hours only to do it in minutes, he’d recover that cost over the next three jobs that you worked on, so there was a mutual advantage in everyone being responsible.

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