In the early 1970s, the NSW Builders Labourers Federation refused to demolish buildings and destroy
parkland in parts of Sydney.
"If it wasn't for that civilising of the building industry in campaigns of 1970 and 1971, well then I'm sure we wouldn’t have had the luxury of the membership going along with us in what was considered by some as 'avant-garde', 'way-out' actions of supporting mainly middle class people in environmental actions. I think that gave us the mandate to allow us to go into uncharted waters" (Jack Mundey, former Secretary of the NSW BLF)
In 1938 the Waterside Workers Federation of Australia refused to load tin clippings and pig-iron on the Dalfram at Port Kembla.
"we met the reactionary government and the monopolies head on and, in the process, we struck heavy blows for democracy...We concluded the battle with no physical casualties and emerged as a much stronger organisation. We won a political victory of enormous national and international importance" (Ted Roach, former Secretary of the WWF South Coast Branch)
These unions would not allow their labour to be used for what they considered 'destructive' purposes.In order for the trade union movement to develop, it must promote this 'new way of thinking' on social responsibility.
Uncharted Waters examines the political theories and movements that influenced these two disputes. Mallory 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. He 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.
Uncharted Waters will be launched by Jack Mundey.
Saturday 2 July - Sydney, Sydney University, 9th National Labour History Conference, lunch-time
Sunday 3 July - Port Kembla, MUA Building, afternoon
Saturday 9 July - Katoomba, launched by Jim Angel, Politics in the Pub - Blue Mountains Unions Council, Hotel Gearin 2.00pm
Friday 15 July - Melbourne, Victorian Trades Hall Council bar, 5.30pm
Sunday 24 July - Brisbane, jointly launched by Jack Mundey, Drew Hutton and Hughie Williams, MC accompanied by Combined Union Choir - Paddington Workers and Community Club, 2.00pm.
Tuesday, 26 July - Canberra, Australian National University, Menzies Building, Noel Butlin Archives Centre, 5.30pm
Thursday, 28 July - Sydney, Supreme Court Bistro, Philips Street, Sydney, overlooking Woolloomoolloo and Victoria Street, 5.30pm
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