Jul 04 2011

‘Here’s your wages…’

Published by at 9:47 am under News

I first started work at fourteen years of age. It was a summer job way out in the countryside in a place called Santry. I was a ‘Plugger’ in Brothers Sewing Machine factory on Santry Lane. My job was to put an electric plug on each sewing machine as it came down the assembly line. My starting wage was four pounds a week. I remember getting my first wage packet, a little brown envelope that was glued shut so the money didn’t fall out and it included a long skinny payslip. When the supervisor came around on my first pay-day (Because I was only on work experience I didn’t have to work a back week) and handed me this envelope I was shaking at the idea of having earned four pounds, a fortune to me back then. I couldn’t wait to give it all to the Ma’ and cycled like mad through the countryside of Santry, Ballymun and Finglas roaring and singing my head off with delight. I burst through the hall door shouting for the Ma’ and proudly handed her my unopened first pay packet. She stood grinning down at me, as only the Ma’ can as she opened the envelope. I couldn’t wait to see what money I had got for my weeks work. Out came four brand new one pound notes and my pay slip. The Ma’ reached out and handed me one of the notes and said ‘Here’s your wages’. I was bursting with delight, a whole pound note all to meself. Now I could go to the pictures loads of times or buy as many slabs of Cleeves toffees as I wanted to or even buy a bottle of American Cream Soda and drink it all to meself. What a great feeling it was to be working and bringing in a wage just like the Da’ and my older siblings. First thing monday morning I’d be up with the lark and off on my bike again to earn more money. The lads on the road didn’t quite cut it with me anymore because they didn’t have a job as important as mine, I was a ‘Plugger’. The Da’ told me that I had one of the most important jobs in the factory because without the plugs on the sewing machines they wouldn’t work. Image that!!! There were two big fellas from Leix Road that worked there. One of them was a big fella named Mick and I think his pal was Joe Lyons. There was another fella from Ventry Park who had a big motorbike and played the guitar and then there was Bobby Paget from Fassaugh Avenue that went to school with me Da’. He was in charge of the tea room where we went for our breaks.  That was the summer of 1965 when short skirts were becoming all the rage and Scott McKenzie was going to San Francisco with flowers in his hair. A big crowd of lads from Cabra were riding around on their Honda 50’s thinking they were the new age Hells Angels. Sure the finance company owned all them motorbikes because none of the lads ever finished paying for them on the never-never. Those were the days alright when you got value for your pound note.

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