"Going into uncharted waters": Two case studies of the social responsibility of trade unions in Australia

Mallory, Greg (1999). "Going into uncharted waters": Two case studies of the social responsibility of trade unions in Australia PhD Thesis, School of History, Philosophy, Religion & Classics, The University of Queensland.

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Author Mallory, Greg
Thesis Title "Going into uncharted waters": Two case studies of the social responsibility of trade unions in Australia
School, Centre or Institute School of History, Philosophy, Religion & Classics
Institution The University of Queensland
Publication date 1999
Thesis type PhD Thesis
Supervisor -
Total pages 305
Language eng
Subjects 150306 Industrial Relations
Formatted abstract In 1938 the Waterside Workers' Federation of Australia (WWF) refused to load tin clippings and pig-iron on the Dalfram at Port Kembla. During the early 1970s the New South Wales Builders Labourers' Federation (NSW BLF) refused to demolish buildings, destroy parkland or build high-rise buildings in some parts of Sydney. These unions would not allow their labour to be used for what they considered 'destructive' purposes. This study is concerned with the issues raised by those two actions and begins by developing a theoretical framework in order to study the circumstances surrounding what became known as the 'Pig-Iron Dispute' and 'Green Bans". The theoretical framework was initially provided by Gerhard Beier and then elaborated upon by John Moses.

This thesis then examines the political theories and movements that directly and indirectly influenced these disputes, namely, Leninism, Marxism, syndicalism, the Industrial Workers of the World, the New Left and the Communist Party of Australia. The study argues that the unions vindicated a social responsibility when they challenged the government and the employers in the areas of foreign policy, control of labour and the destruction of the urban environment. It further contends that the NSW BLF pioneered a 'new way of thinking' about the nature of work and the trade union movement's relationship with the wider community. This study's main premise is that the NSW BLF moved beyond traditional activities and into what Jack Mundey has described as "uncharted waters".

It concludes by stating that in order for the trade union movement to develop, it must promote this 'new way of thinking' on social responsibility.
Keyword Labor unions -- Australia
Waterside Workers' Federation of Australia
Australian Building Construction Employees' and Builders' Labourers' Federation. New South Wales Branch
Additional Notes The author has given permission for this thesis to be made open access.

 
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