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Cokeworks Voices Cont.

When I started there I was asked: ARE YOU PREPARED TO WORK AMONGST HEAT, GAS & DUST? That was on the form. So if you wanted the job, you said: YES.
A couple of times to my knowledge, members of the Royal Family were going past on the road: they stopped production and you’d spend all morning stemming doors. I mean, why? If it wasn’t good enough for them...
Then they had on these lectures. They were saying about the chances of getting cancer on the ram were about four times as great as the man in the street. On the guide, possibly eight times as great. The lid men were on a hiding to nowt, like...
It was a sad day, that, the last oven. I got a bit lump in me throat when I seen it gan out: “That’s the last oven. That's away out, like.” It’s hard, ye knaa. I mean, thirteen year: I’ve put most of me time on there. It’s hard to sink in: “That's the last oven gone out.”
I’d be happy with a little job at the Metro Centre, like. Filling shelves till I’m 65. I’d be happy with owt.
I used to smoke between 60 and 80 a day. Senior Service, like. I was in the Merchant Navy. I was at Christmas Island for the atomic tests. I was ten years on the batteries at Derwenthaugh. Now I’ve got this tumour on me lung. What I want to know is: who am I going to blame?
When they started building those houses on the top, I went up to have a look. I was standing there with the salesman chappie, looking down at this place. I said, “That’s a terrible eyesore, that, like.” He said: “The cokeworks? Oh, it’s coming down.” I thought, “Does he know something I don't know?”
If it's earmarked to close, it doesn’t matter what you do, they’ll close it. You can fight the closure all year long, but at the end of the day, they’ll close it. They just want one excuse and they’ll close it. I think they had it earmarked to close, strike or no strike.
They announced it half past twelve on a Tuesday, that this place was closing on February 15th and Lambton was closing in April. There was a vote on: whether to fight the closure, like. But there were strong rumours that in 1987 the redundancies will stop. A lot of the lads were thinking, “I'll get me money first then get out.” I voted to fight the closure, but then a lot of lads didn’t. They voted for the plant to go down. When it came to the vote, it was 102 to accept closure, 101 to fight it.

You could go to Monkton or nowhere. There’s no other place been mentioned. We’re plater/welders. There’s nine of us here. There were only vacancies for two down there and they had to keep some vacancies open for Lambton. But the papers tell you there are going to be no compulsory redundancies.