Smith was born around 1917 in Coventry and began work assisting female sewing machinists at Standard in June 1932 (she became a machinist herself at the age of 16). She joined the Transport and General Workers’ Union in 1934 and remained until 1976, chairing the local branch for many years. During the Second World War she was an inspector in the machine shop and became a shop steward. She was the wife of Jack Smith.
Side A: work of sewing machinists; installation of conveyor system in 1934 leading to temporary lay-offs and joining of TGWU by all machinists (around 250 of them) to force withdrawal of threatened cut in earnings; working hours; stability of workforce; sacking of all machinists in October/November 1939 over dispute about piece-rates for gas mask covers; her work and pay as inspector in the machine shop; union organisation during the war (continued on side B).
Side B: effect of Essential Works Order from 1941, including influx of new workers; working in factory during Coventry blitz and blackout; support given by Jack Jones; war-time wage-rates and lack of equal pay for women; various aspects of war-time working; unionisation of returning male workers after end of war; post-war decline in number of female workers; increase in lower wages and establishment of larger work gangs under Standard wage agreement in 1948; loss of sewing machine work to outside workers because of male piece rates pushing up the price of jobs in the factory.