This book is about the men who make cars for one of the world's largest motor manufacturers. The vocabulary of labour relations and industrial sociology is derived from the lives these men lead - production schedules, assembly lines, strikes, sackings and lay-offs.
Huw Beynon's book describes just what it is like to work in a car factory, told very often in the words of the men themselves. But it also reveals in a vivid and direct way the processes by which large-scale industries seek to overcome industrial conflict and the way in which unions, shop-floor workers and the shop stewards express their political and economic aspirations. The car workers are a central group in the British working class, and this account of their lives shows how important a role they played in the radicalization of the union bureaucracy during the 1960s.
Working for Ford raises the issues that concern the men themselves and is one of the most important books on industrial relations published in the recent years. The dynamism of the book derives from the actions of the men themselves, but the implications extend far beyond their specific context and constitute an important indicator for the development of industrial relations in the 1970s.
Huw Beyno is Lecturer in Sociology at the University of Bristol.