Mr Robert Driver - Union

The union was formed in 1895 and at the age of only 15 years old he started work as office boy in the Rossendale Union of Boot, Shoe & Slipper Operatives when Albert Taylor was secretary.  With his father being a union man he was brought up seeing and hearing people calling at the house talking union business. His first wage was 22 shillings. He would in time become secretary of the union.

He recalls the union as one of co-operation with the manufacturers rather than conflict although does remember the clickers strike of 1911 that required arbitration to resolve.

He explains how a simple disagreement with just one operation could stop a room and indeed a whole factory.

The depression of the 1930’s was a bad time in the shoe trade. Prior to this the trade was influenced by seasonal work and short time working was common and when not working people would sign on the dole. He thought this was not a good way of working and introduced the idea of sharing workers between factories if one factory was busy and one quiet they would loan their staff until things got busier.

To listen to the recording please click on the green button with a white triangle below. 9 mins