Paddy O'Gorman

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Interview Date(s): 
31 Jul 1992
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Paddy O’Gorman (PO)

Union (ACTT) Laboratories (Technicolor)

BECTU No.257

Interviewer: Alan Sapper (AS)

Date 31/07/92

1 Tape

Side 1

00:00:00 – 00:05:45 Introductions; born in Tipperary educated by the Christian Brothers; lived in Tipperary until he was 18 when he joined the Irish Army in 1936; one of the top athletes in the army; when the war started PO moved to Belfast and joined the RAF; he trained in Belfast as air crew; stationed at Long Kesh; moved over to London in 1943, St Johns Wood; then moved to Hornchurch; PO was an air gunner in the RAF; moved on to Torquay where he was involved in an accident during a parachute jump; towards the end of the war he was given a job at the war office.

00:05:45 – 00:15:40 Following his time at the war office, PO started working for Technicolor in 1951 (after a period driving a bus for London Transport); PO met John Brakespeare during physiotherapy sessions who told him to apply for Technicolor; PO started working with Alf Cooper in the transfer department; he took an active role in the union – Ray Sharp was the convenor and PO was initially his assistant; PO became the convenor in 1955; Technicolor was ‘closed shop’ – all came in to the ACTT; PO got the nickname ‘Mr Technicolor’; mentions Mr Oliver, Mike Allen, Mr Littlejohns; elected as treasurer of the union (taking over from Frank Fuller) in the 1960s and remained in the role for 15 years; PO was convenor at Technicolor for 25 years; president of the union at this time was Anthony Asquith; George Elvin was general secretary.

00:15:40 – 00:23:45 Technology changed all the time at Technicolor; quality was lost when three-strip ended; it wasn’t unusual to have 800 prints run on a loop; after the first 25 prints everything else was profit; quality control would call if the image needed to go ‘a point up’ or ‘a point down’; PO led the negotiating team during the changes in technology; quality control though there was an issue with the print, it wasn’t scrapped like it would be with Eastmancolor, it would be wiped clean and used again; PO discusses cost saving in quality control; they had an Eastmancolor plant there but it was never in full use; it was the biggest mistake moving away from Technicolor because of the waste when using Eastmancolor; Technicolor was very economical with little waste; Technicolor could have reduced the price and lasted longer; the reason for changing over was to do with the sharper image; Technicolor could have made it sharper by introducing another colour.

00:23:45 – 00:33:00 [3rd voice at back of room mentions the printing process] Technicolor was a very fast printing process; tri-pack was sold to China; PO talks about his visit to China; it took years to set up; it was ideal for China due to the number of prints required; after tri-pack they built a new centre in the mid-1970s; there were a number of disputes at Technicolor prior to this; on one occasion all of the labs were out on strike and received support from a number of other unions (airports, bus drivers, Black and Decker, Penguin Books); PO was a member of the Hayes and Harlington trades council; everyone at Technicolor was a member of the union; they had a good relationship with the various managers; the members were happy working there at the time and the managers got a better product.

00:33:00 – 00: PO discusses redundancies; they had one of the best redundancies agreements at the time; PO became one of the most significant treasurers the union had; television began to change the union in the late-1970s early-1980s; PO believed that they were not as strong; PO left Technicolor in 1981and gave up his position as treasurer in the union; 1200 worked there when he started at Technicolor and 800 when he left; PO was always concerned about the Italian Technicolor plant undercutting their business; PO mentions that there was a plant in France at one point.

Side 2

00:00:00 – 00:06:47 AS lists all of the committees PO was involved with; when he retired, PO knew that the union was running into trouble politically; management and attitudes were changing; AS mentions ABS meetings; ACTT was a strong and fair union with a very good name in the trade union movement.