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[29 APR 99] THE CHAMBER PRESS RELEASE
The Conversion Of Shop Steward

After 20 years in the foundry business, shop steward Wendell Ward understood how things worked.

For the Transport and General Workers Union members there were "us". And then there were "them"-the management.

Today, only a few months later, he has changed his views.

"Now I see that it's all us," he said.

Wendell Ward
FORMER SHOP TEWARD WENDELL WARD HAS GONE FROM THE FIRE OF BEING A TRADITIONAL SHOP STEWARD TO CONVERSION AS A KEEN SUPPORTER OF THE INVESTOR INPEOPLE APPROACH TO OMPROVING ANY COMPANY'S MAIN ASSET

Mr Ward discovered the road to Damascus through being asked to be part of a team to get Nuneaton-based Transtec Cast Products through the process of recognition as Investors in People.

He said:

"It's been a real inspiration-seeing the commitment from the shop floor right through to the top management.

"Commitment by the management, as the industry goes through a difficult time, had not been apparent before to us on the shop floor."

The conversion of Mr Ward and his colleagues has come about through the Caldwell Road company demonstrating the principles behind being an Investor in People.

This includes having an individual development plan for every member on payroll, and full and regular communication about the business, its aims, and its problems.

For Mr Ward, who has just moved from Coventry to Aston Road, Abbey Green, Nuneaton, it has also been the inspiration to gain new qualifications.

He said:

"I have been doing Spanish and I'm now going for an NVQ as an assessor."

He also gave up on being a shop steward three months ago.

At a ceremony to receive the coveted Investors plaque, general manager Chris Rowley said that achieving recognition was not the end of the process.

"We have to step it up a gear where and when we can. But the feedback from the IiP assessor was that we are going the right way and have a lot of good intent."

With the workforce now regularly informed about the performance of the company, Mr. Rowley had no difficulty in dealing with the hard facts.

He added:

"The whole industry is suffering and there is no sign of a pick-up.

"However this actually gives us time to develop our strengths and ensure that we emerge much stronger when the pick-up does come."

The company now employs 264 people, having had to make 38 redundant.

It supplies hi-tech castings in high volume for the automotive industry, including Ford, Nissan and Renault, and benefits from a large amount being sold internally-giving its parent company, Transtec Cast Products Group, control of the whole supply chain from initial design to supply of fully finished units.

The company operates a quality assurance system which is accredited to BS EN ISO 9002 and QS-9000, and sees the Investor in People standards as complementing these quality systems.

MORE INFORMATION:  Barry Lloyd-Jones   01203 654260
   

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CWN / Business / The Chamber / 29 Apr 1999

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