During one of the downturns in production at the Cork plant, in 1952, the company undertook a major ‘time and motion’ analysis in the factory.
The Engine Exchange was the last place to be analysed, and employee John Brennan, who had joined the company at 16, four years earlier, recalls the experience.
“The ‘time and motion’ analyst stood beside me for two days without saying a word. He timed my movements and made copious notes with his very sharp pencil. When he had finished, we waited like participants in a jury trial for the verdict.
“The decision: there were five too many workers and I was number five on the list of seniority. My foreman, Mr O’Callaghan, personally gave me the bad news. It was time to move on with my life.
“I picked up my belongings, turned in my badge and my tools and said my farewells, before getting in line with the others to pick up my stamp books and collect my final pay, as well as a termination bonus of £25.
“To our amazement, the man who cost us our jobs, the time and motion analyst, was also in the line. Ford no longer had any use for his services.”
Brennan used the bonus to emigrate to the United States and adds: “The story didn’t end there. A week after my arrival in New York, in July 1953, my cousin, Joan, offered to take me to the famous Bronx Zoo.
“There, in a million to one shot, I ran into the ‘time and motion’ analyst, a man called Adam. I have a photograph of us to prove it! He had also emigrated and was working with a Ford Motors plant in New Jersey. We were like long-lost friends!
“I learned a great deal about life in my years at Ford and I have always looked back at them in a positive way.”
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