Gateway Object: Strike Action

Shroud room workers. black and white image
Dolly Dunsby and Women for the Shroud room, photo from 60s

Dolly Dunsby and the ‘Great tea strike’

Dolly Dunsby began working at Newman Brothers at the age of 14 in 1915. She had the choice of working at a biscuit factory or Newman Brothers, but chose the latter because it paid more. Dolly managed the Warehouse and eventually ‘the works’, giving out the day’s jobs to the polishers. However, Dolly had to fight to get her job as Warehouse manager. Although Dolly had worked for Newman Brothers for 30 years, when the job became available, she wasn’t at first offered it. She felt so strongly that ‘she fought her corner’ with Horace Newman and eventually got the job. She continued in this role for another 30 years, finally retiring at the age of seventy-five in 1975.
In the early 1960s, a few of the ladies at Newman Brothers, led by Dolly Dunsby, went on strike after a disagreement with the directors about shortening their tea break. Dolly Dunsby, Alice Overton and a few other ladies walked out on strike. The company was left without any warehouse staff, which stopped production. The ladies were eventually convinced to come back to work by the directors, Mr Kellett and Mr Floyd, a few days later, and production resumed.

Dolly’s one ambition was to visit Scotland. Five years after she left Newman Brothers, aged 80, the company paid for a holiday in the Highlands with her brother, Charlie. While Dolly hadn’t always been the easiest employee, this is testament to how much they really valued her.

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