By there were unions with a membership of 54, Today there are unions, the largest being the Australian Workers Union 1 with a membership of about embracing practically all rural industries, construction workers, and others, especially in Queensland. Some workers are buying their houses, and others live in rented houses. However the management of the mine is Australian - there are no Americans on the board of directors or in senior staff positions. Workers should understand what this process really means.
Australia may be at the Antipodes but the labour bureaucracy is right here, in our midst, as it is in every modern capitalist country. In certain circumstances, penalties may be inflicted on registered unions which indulge in strikes and stops.
This is the story of what was probably the greatest labour dispute in post-war Australian history. Everyone acted true to colours: the employers, driven by their need to maximize profits and to control ever more closely every aspect of the labour process; adjudicators, judges, police and state authorities as more or less conscious instruments of this ruling class; the trade union leaders as appendages of Established society, seeking to compel the workers to conform to the requirements of that society.
The first of several acts in this field was passed in and modifications were made over the years. Isa Mines even greater control over their labour force.
Mount isa: the great queensland strike - bretta carthey and bob potter
The story of the Mount Isa dispute is an important one. Indeed the concessions of the management on the economic demands later appeared almost irrelevant. Compared with the rest of Australia the wage rates are high, but the cost of living is very high. Millions of blow flies make outdoor life a misery by day, and the mosquitoes launch their attacks by night. The Labour Britain of Messrs Wilson, Gunter and Brown would not have acted very differently, if confronted with a challenge on a similar scale.
The next largest is the AEU with 80, members.
And then all the necessary conclusions should be drawn. The Federal Parliament has absolute authority in fields such as customs and excise, coinage, posts and telegraphs, but shares 'industrial regulation' with state authorities. Not for all the squeaks or squawks of all the 'entrists', nor for all their protest resolutions or deputations to Parliament.
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In our opinion these explanations all fall short of the mark. Others that 'more pressure from below' would have prevented the leaders from acting as they did. On the contrary. The glorious fight of the miners deserves the respect of the workers of all lands. The dispute we will be describing in the following s was confined to Queensland, and hence the interventions against the miners were essentially interventions of the Queensland State Government.
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The trade union bureaucracy is becoming increasingly conscious of its role and interests. It is this latter fact which the Mt. Isa dispute shows up most clearly. The trade union leaders are not misguided, illogical, timid or muddle headed men who occasionally 'sell out'. This bitter and prolonged dispute had all the hallmarks and contained all the ingredients of major industrial struggles in the era of modern bureaucratic capitalism. They don't stress the main lesson: the need for self-activity and self-organization whenever workers are in struggle, or the need to keep the control of the struggle in their own hands, or the need to link up with rank and file bodies in other industries -and in the same industry on a wider geographical basis -or the need for solidarity support to include solidarity action if it is to be really effective.
As the struggle developed it became obvious that much more fundamental issues were at stake. Above all they fail to stress the need to understand the real nature of the trade union bureaucracy and to dispel all illusions as to whose side it is on. In the stonemasons in Melbourne achieved the 8-hour day. It was the reluctance of each colony to surrender too many of its rights that made Australia emerge as a federation and not as a unitary state. Men work in twenty odd levels, running out of a shaft that goes down nearly 4, feet. The workers at Mt. Before the mine was sunk, and the precious copper, silver, lead and zinc began rising to the earth's surface, there was no township at Mt.
By the end of the dispute, the population had dropped to 10, The mine itself is vast. Superficially, and at first sight, the clash was about money. In addition there have been numerous bonus share issues.
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The Commonwealth of Australia was born on January 1, ly the Australian States had existed as separate Crown Colonies, politically independent of each other. There is in fact one supervisor for every four men! In the summer it's stinking hot.
The six month clash between men and management was the climax of a series of dissatisfactions and grievances going back a decade or more. The workers were on their own.
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Generally speaking, the Federal Government can only intervene where an industrial dispute extends beyond state limits. Still others that a different leadership would have achieved better. The 'method' of running the mine, however, has all the characteristics of 20th century 'American efficiency', with time study, speed-up and intensified supervision carried to the nth degree. The nearest coast is more than miles away. Even the electricity, at 5d. The following quotation p.
Australia: The Labour Scene. In Mt. Isa, prices are often twice as high as in the capital. The story has not yet been fully told in Britain and Solidarity considers it a duty to do so. What needs to be stressed is their perfectly logical, consistent attitude, year in, year out, in every country of the modern world. Today it is even developing an ideology of its own.
This in itself is a telling symptom of how successfully both our rulers, and those who claim to speak on our behalf, have succeeded in isolating and dividing workers from one another. Its ingredients are, in a nutshell, those of bureaucratic capitalism in action -the workers fighting against the 'unholy alliance' of international capital, state authority in the form of the judicial and police departments and the official trade union 'leadership'.
In the ten year period Mt. Isa Mines Ltd. Isa on a map. The Australian Trade Union movement began in the ls, as 'trade societies'.
After reading this pamphlet some may conclude that the union officials 'sold out' the miners. They should recognize the new enemy within their own ranks. The Australian Constitution provides a strict division of powers between the Federal and State Parliaments. Very little has been heard about these events in the British working class movement.
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For seven months Mount Isa dominated the front of every Australian newspaper. In the post-war Labour Government extended the scope of the acts, and they were further modified in Acceptance of the machinery of conciliation and arbitration by a trade union generally means statutory restriction of the right to strike. Those who pledged the Labour leaders their 'critical support" should not moan when they discover they have given the bosses a new stick with which to beat us. Pamphlet by the UK Solidarity group on the strike and lockout at the Mount Isa copper mine in Queensland, Australia, which placed miners in direct opposition to their union, employer and the Queensland State Government for almost seven months.
Mount Isa is a remote outback town, 1, miles from Brisbane, capital of Queensland. On the lower levels the heat is unbearable. Reporter Shirley Golt described her visit to Mt. Like everything else in Mt. Isa, the cost of housing is extortionate. Quite elaborate and often compulsory conciliation and arbitration machinery has been set up over the years at both State and Federal level.
About 18 months ago some 2.
The ls saw the great gold rushes, the population trebled, and great s of immigrant workers brought their revolutionary militancy from Europe. The mining area is surrounded by hundreds of square miles of tropical desert. There is a standing joke that if a Mt. Isa miner went to hell, the first thing he would ask for would be an overcoat.