Another hiccup in my understanding of what I began to interpret as ruling class law saw me seek an alternative, but rewarding position, at CUB in Carlton.
I had what I believed was to be the ultimate choice of careers, how wrong it nearly turned out to be, but it would launch into a international career some period down the line.
A still naive and raw young man, I was about to be orbited to the dark side of the moon .
WORKING IN THE NUDE IN NINETEEN SEVENTY TWO
The need to break a young man with working class ideas and a young man willing to challenge authority needed to be suppressed by the minions with some faux power in the management of CUB.
Every afternoon shift I was required to enter the large kettles used to brew the beer and physically sweep the spent grain into a small hole in the corner.
Twenty minutes would have seen other shift workers including me entering the large kettles in 140c temperature complete with gumboots and heavy overalls to begin the arduous task and complete it. It didn’t always happen,some workers fainted in the excessive heat, some workers abandoned the overalls and worked in the nude. It didnt bear thinking about. If you fell over in the knee deep hot grain, kissing your arse goodbye was forever in you mind.
On one occasion I staged a sit down in the kettle until assurances were given that no worker would ever be treated this way again.
Of course I had to start with a list of demands, no workers would ever have to work in the kettles without O H & S supervision, no worker would be required to go back to their original position without a shower, clean overalls and a proper break of at least one hour.
A foreman, hearing of my demands, ordered the next hot brew take place while I was sitting on the floor. Fortunately wiser heads prevailed, I’m still here!
As a part of many episodes to come, I was also required to sweep out the silos. Imagine the Nylex silo in Richmond as a example of the size of the task.
They found a fat man and a skinny boy from Broady to work in unison. I could fit down the hole of the solo. he was too fat to fall in ,the job was to compete with the enormous size rats living at the bottom and to sweep the remnants of thousands of tons of dusty grain into another tiny hole.
There’s a theme here, tiny holes and skinny boys but the theme was about to come to a screaming halt.
At the bottom of the silo I untied my rope – finally I was free of the makeshift shackles. It was probably getting too boring for management but I was sitting on the floor competing with the rats, but on the floor again. I wasn’t coming out until they ceased this inhuman practice.
It was lonely at the bottom with only giant rats for company but after a few hours of talking the management saw the the error of their ways and employed professionals to do the job.
I went on to a successful career in the trade union movement and joined the the liquor trades union and many other unions and went on to a international career .
More tales soon!