Sheffield, south Yorkshire, 1995. A group of maintenance workers find themselves with a new boss after the privatization of British Rail. The new company is called East Midland Infrastructure and it is out to radically cut operating costs, as well as downsizing the workforce under the cover of a highly cinematic entity named the Foundation for the Future. Paul and his divorced mate, Mick, who’s sleeping temporarily on Paul’s couch, have already been offered severance packages. ‘Anyone who stands in the way of change is out, okay?’ ... Working from a script by former railway worker and union activist Rob Dawber (1956 – 2001), Ken Loach presents episodes in the life of a deregulated workplace. Building from comic to tragic events, in an echo of the divestiture of the state ‘mother company,’ the plot traces the planned, inexorably advancing disbanding of a close, trusted family-like collective of workers – culminating in a serious accident caused by a system in which the colleagues, discharged to (seeming) self-employment, become rivals.
by Ken Loach
with Dean Andrews, Tom Craig, Joe Duttine
United Kingdom / Germany / Spain 2001