- Rivett, Norman C
- History - general
- RAN Ships
- None noted.
- June 2009 edition of the Naval Historical Review (all rights reserved)
Taking the man’s docket, Stan cleaned it and attached it to the end of a short length of flexible copper wire and immersed the docket in the molten white metal. He hauled it out, let the excess metal drain off, and when it was cool Stan handed it to the man and gently said, ‘There, your docket is the only silver one.’ A corresponding white disc stuck on the relevant position in the man’s work station cabinet completed the operation. The result was an immediate success and there was no repeat of the problem.
The docket system did have inherent problems. It did not identify a person and to collect his docket, a worker had to first enter the Dockyard to get to the time station. Pay day also presented a problem of identification for the Paymaster. This was solved by the foreman being present when his group of workers were being paid. He stood alongside the Paymaster and identified his men. An independent staff member was also present, acting as witnessing officer in case of dispute, a task which I performed for a number of years in the Dock Fitting and Machine Shop. Incidentally, I never was witness to any disputes.
The men lined up before the Paymaster in order of their docket numbers and business commenced. There was one notable exception to this procedure; chargehands were paid first, a small traditional concession.
When security became an issue some method of identification became necessary to enter the Dockyard. Several methods were tried such as plastic, later aluminium discs which the workers took home with them. The docket system still operated for time-keeping. The obvious solution of photographic identification was not an option for management at that time for the unions were opposed to it.
Staff members were the first to be issued with this type of identification on 19 July 1971 and in time good sense prevailed and everyone was issued with a photographic pass. The docket was finally superseded by time-clocks and cards.
Years later in retirement I was a volunteer in the Dockyard Museum when a box of brass timekeeping dockets was handed in. I eagerly searched through them for the ‘Silver Docket’ but it was not amongst them. I like to think that the Ironworker from the Coppershop may have taken it with him when he too retired.