Dynamex Friction, Caernarfon, North Wales
Formerly Ferodo & Friction Dynamics
The plant was originally known as Ferodo and was opened by Princess Margaret in 1962 and was a major employer on the edge of Caernarfon specialising in linings for car brake and clutch systems.
At one point it employed around 1000 workers but the workforce reduced over the years because of foreign outsourcing of car parts. The TGWU worked harmoniously with Ferodo, even during the turbulence of the 1970s. It was later the scene of one of the longest industrial disputes in the region’s history.
Fedoro Workers, 1985
Fedoro Site, 1980
In 1997 it as bought by American Craig Smith who renamed it Friction Dynamics Ltd and made changes to working conditions to make the company more competitive in the global market.
In April 2001, Transport and General Workers Union (T&G) members staged industrial action over terms and conditions but were locked out. After the May Day Bank Holiday, factory workers returned to find they were locked out. Smith dismissed 86 workers who had taken lawful industrial action. A picket line was set up at the entrance to Griffiths Crossing, and lasted almost three years.
The eighty six workers later won their wrongful dismissal claim at an employment tribunal in 2003, but never received compensation - Friction Dynamics had gone into administration in August 2003, and a new company, Dynamex Friction, began production on the site two weeks later.
The T&G finally called off the protest in Christmas 2003 but the union, now part of Unite, continued a campaign for compensation but conceded in 2010 they would be unable to get any money from Mr Smith.
Dynamex Friction continued to operate until 2008 when it closed its doors for good and the site has remained abandoned ever since awaiting its fate.