|The Rushden Echo, 17th April 1964, transcribed by Jim Hollis
Jobs Setback But It’s Not So Bad
Although the shock news that A. J. G. Potter and Sons, Ltd, the Stanwick building Contractors, had dismissed over 200 employees last week meant a big setback to the Rushden employment figures, the situation is still considerably brighter than this time last year.
Of those who lost their jobs with the firm and its subsidiary, Potters (Wellingborough) Ltd, only twenty have so far registered at the Rushden Ministry of Labour Exchange, the manager, Mr. D. Stratton, reported this week.
Overall, however, the picture is a vast improvement over the same period 12 months ago, when the footwear industry was at its lowest ebb for over twenty years.
Latest figures available show that only 67 are out of work in the district (54 of them men) compared with 290 in March, 1963 (224 men) when the recession in the boot and shoe trade meant longer dole queues.
Commenting on the current numbers, Mr. Stratton said: “They probably won’t go much lower than this. Most of those who lost their jobs last year have been absorbed since then in other factories.”
The 1964 figure is equivalent to 0.4 per cent of the insured population being out of work, whereas last year the 290 jobless had raised the percentage to 1.7.
“This is a drastic reduction,” Mr. Stratton said, and added: “The position at present is quite favourable, but we have a number of building operatives on our books as a direct result of the closure of Potter’s.”
The footwear manufacturers are still demanding women closers although in most cases are faced with the problem of being unable to get the additional workers in this department.
Skilled men are also wanted by most firms, but the demand for unskilled labour is not currently high.
There is no short-time being operated in Rushden factories at the moment, the majority having full order books, which promise full employment and plenty of work for months to come.
There is good news for some of those affected by the sackings at Potter’s too. Carpenters and bricklayers, in particular, are needed by other contractors for site work. Labourers, however, are not so urgently required.
Trainees for the ironstone industry are also wanted, as are skilled engineers.