Hired, Fired and Re-Hired on my first day!.

I commenced work at Fletcher Jones in early May 1956, as a young lad in the dry cleaning department. I was excited and nervous on my first day at work. Later that day, the Department Manager handed me a document to be completed and signed with my personal particulars. On completing the document I returned it to him.

Later in the afternoon he came and told me I was unable to work at Fletcher Jones because I was only 13 years and 9 months of age, which would breach Union rules. I could not continue at the time. I was embarrassed and frightened, thinking I had broken the law. I felt like crying!

I remember saying to him, “will I go home now?” He replied, “yes, you will have to.” He turned away.

I went broken hearted to the door leading into the garden, and as I commenced to walk away the Manager touched me on the shoulder and he said, “wait here for a while and I will go upstairs and talk to another Manager about the matter.”    

 A short time later both men came to me and told me to promise not to tell anyone my age and when I turned 14 years of age, the paper work could be signed then. It’s a promise I kept for a very long time. Only recently did I tell this story of how on my first day at work, I was hired, fired, and rehired on the one day!   I came to realise the two Managers showed me great empathy, possibly recognising my torment at the time.

This story does not end here.   

At the end of my first week all the employees received their pay, except me!  I did not receive any! I waited until near closing time, afraid to approach the Manager about this. At the last moment I went to him and made him aware. He said, ‘’I’ll go up to the pay office and enquire.” He returned a short time later and apologised as the safe had been closed, and he had to pay me out of petty cash. From memory a total of 2 pounds 6 shillings, all in 2 shilling pieces!  I was ecstatic!

With both pockets filled, I walked home a short distance away in Flaxman Street. On arrival home, I walked into the kitchen and emptied both my bulging pockets onto the kitchen table. I remember saying to my parents, “Look I’m rich, I’m rich!” in excitement.

 So ended my first day, and my first week, working for Mr. Fletcher Jones.  In the end, I worked there for 10 years and I came to love Mr. Jones as an amazing individual and a caring and kindly man.  

 

 

From Bruce Turner: Former employee of Fletcher Jones & Staff from 1956 to 1966 (aged 14 – 24 years)

Bruce Turner still wears his Fletcher Jones clothes - pictured at a re-union of the cutting room FJ staff in 2016.
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