Statements by employees and former employees

Bojan Leskovar

former works manager of the tool shop, head of the forge in the 1950s, and director of Unior Atras

….That time saw a special development in sintering, i.e. hot forging of sinter, when sintered blanks form and these are then closed-die drop forged. This is what I wrote about to Mr Osole. Mr Osole then came to the institute and I must say that, unlike before, he made a decision very quickly. I showed him my laboratory and he saw how it all worked. We came to an agreement and I came to Zreče in 1973.

…Well, if there was pressure on economics, on money? Of course there was. I still remember when the first sintered pieces came. It was a hub. I was especially attached to the hub because I was developing it for Titan, and there were some problems there. When the first one came out of the furnace, I took it and went to director Osole and told him: “Comrade Director, this is the first piece.” I remember it well. He was sitting on the other side of the table. He looked at it and said: “Good. Save the invoice.”

… I was in the plant practically all the time. There was nothing else. Every now and then, I went for a ramble across Rogla, skiing, mountains, but otherwise I mostly stayed at the plant…

Jože Boček

former foreman in the forge

“Where have you been today?”, I asked my neighbour. “To the factory”, he said. “I went there to ask for work.” “And, did you get it?” “Yes”, he said. And I immediately went down to Košir. And we came to an agreement. What else can I do, I thought. My dad had land, and I had nothing to do at home. Well, there was work, just no money

…You made a forge, or forged a cogwheel. It had to be deburred. And then you put it aside. If the controller came around twice or three times, he checked the thickness and that was it…

…Some workers from elsewhere stayed, some got scared and went back. When Matavž went on sick leave, I slowly started doing the job. There was no one else as backup. So, I started doing that and I stayed there. There were hard-working boys coming from school. And they were good. You had to tell them a few things at the beginning, but they were better at these things.

… I would still rather be a smith than anything else. If I were young again, I would just be a smith. I loved that work so much and I was interested in it.

Dragica Potnik

former forewoman in the quality department – forge

… I had the utmost respect for the smiths because I knew that we came from them…

…They demanded order. They were making three thousand caps upstairs. I was making a thousand. Because I couldn’t. I couldn’t do more. He came back two months later and said: “You’re not making enough. They make three thousand of them upstairs.” And I thought to myself: “Jesus…” I was the only one making those pieces. I was making them for export. And I said: “All right., Then I’ll make four thousand.” He came back two months later and said that they were making six thousand of them upstairs. I was making eight thousand…

Martin Špile

smith

…Everything was more by rule of thumb then. We had the calliper gauge, nothing more, but we worked by rule of thumb. When you made a piece, you looked at it. You didn’t have to be as precise as later on, when technology evolved…

…It was fire when you came to the forge. It was so hot, you wouldn’t believe it. This has changed now by one hundred percent..,
…Things became more and more demanding every year, when we entered the western markets. When we forged parts for Bosnia, for tractors, it wasn’t so important. The parts were processed so that they went a couple of millimetres to the left or right. When we came to the west, to Germany, and we forged parts for the automotive industry, for Mercedes and Audi, things became more complicated. Everything had to be done precisely.
…There was an incredible demand for smiths. From 1975 to 1985, things developed so fast that they brought workers from Bosnia. Those were good workers. But there weren’t enough of them. And they brought them from Ćuprija, from Serbia. These were people who weren’t used to such work. People rotated fast in the forge. You had one assistant until lunch and one after lunch because the first had already run away. He just left the gloves and disappeared. It could happen that you had three assistants in a single shift.

…There was always work and salaries were paid. I was in the same company from the beginning to the end, and I am proud of that…

Cvetka Šrot

former assistant in the general staffing department

…Then, at the time of that crisis, salaries were very, very low. Me and my husband, we both worked at Unior. We had four kids and let me tell you, we almost couldn’t make it…

…Then, at the time of that crisis, salaries were very, very low. Me and my husband, we both worked at Unior. We had four kids and let me tell you, we almost couldn’t make it.

…They had different courses and seminars, and the smiths got trained in the workshop or the forge. When the numbers grew so high that there was a lack of metal workers, they established their own vocational school. By 1990, all these students got a job…
…At the time, the company was also building new blocks of flats. The workers that came first got single rooms and later family flats…
…It is true that the company has always invested a lot in development. This is how Rogla, the tourist centre, was built, as well as Terme Zreče. Even though we initially thought that it wouldn’t work out, you can see today that a lot was done and a lot of people have jobs today. Both in Terme Zreče and in Rogla…

Stane Jurca

former head of the Sinter plant, former head of tool shop II, technical director

….That time saw a special development in sintering, i.e. hot forging of sinter, when sintered blanks form and these are then closed-die drop forged. This is what I wrote about to Mr Osole. Mr Osole then came to the institute and I must say that, unlike before, he made a decision very quickly. I showed him my laboratory and he saw how it all worked. We came to an agreement and I came to Zreče in 1973…

…Well, if there was pressure on economics, on money? Of course there was. I still remember when the first sintered pieces came. It was a hub. I was especially attached to the hub because I was developing it for Titan, and there were some problems there. When the first one came out of the furnace, I took it and went to director Osole and told him: “Comrade Director, this is the first piece.” I remember it well. He was sitting on the other side of the table. He looked at it and said: “Good. Save the invoice.”

… I was in the plant practically all the time. There was nothing else. Every now and then, I went for a ramble across Rogla, skiing, mountains, but otherwise I mostly stayed at the plant…

Zlata Koprivnik

former head of accounting

…Well, those of us working in the offices didn’t know anything about a strike being planned. Maybe there was some talk of a strike the day before. We came to work in the morning, and they didn’t let us into the offices. The yard was full of people…
…We had a holiday home in Umag. Let me tell you, it was great. There was a bus going there and back every week. We had a great time there…