Flashback to January 1975 and a meeting of the Lucas Aerospace shop stewards combine committee. The management of Lucas Aerospace was reacting to economic crisis by cutting jobs.
"Let's start here from this combine committee. It has grown and grown.
"There's talk of crisis wherever you turn," said Mike Cooley, an inspirational designer then working at the Willesden factory (and later sacked by the company for his involvement in the combine committee), describing an aspect of the context familiar to us now.
The combine committee sent round a detailed questionnaire to every factory to draw up an inventory of skills and machinery and to ask fellow trade union members what they should be making.
"Can do" rather than "can analyze" was the emphasis of the combine committee. They insisted, against the conventional emphasis (including by much of the left) on linguistic skills and propositional and codified scientific knowledge, on the importance of tacit knowledge, of "things we know but cannot tell."
The combine committee initially hoped the government would engage.
The struggle of the Lucas Shop Stewards Combine Committee for alternative production offers a host of insights and perspectives that could help overcome the suspicion with which many workers and unionists regard environmental policies - including those of their own unions.
But the Combine Committee managed to get them together on each site and then across the whole thing - hence the words Shop Stewards' Combine Committee.
In contrast to this, the suggestions of the Lucas Combine Shop Stewards' Combine Committee were meant to transform the existing production process, producing different kinds of products.