Strikes: limits to industrial action?

Blackwood, Simon, and Hunt, Doug (2009) Strikes: limits to industrial action? In: Bowden, Bradley, Blackwood, Simon, Rafferty, Cath, and Allan, Cameron, (eds.) Work and Strife in Paradise: the history of labour relations in Queensland 1859-2009. Federation Press, Annandale, NSW, Australia, pp. 183-201.

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Abstract

The great strikes of the 1890s ushered in a century in which major strikes represented the most dramatic feature of Queensland’s industrial history. This chapter surveys those major strike waves where union strike behaviour commonly comprises an initial successful strike, encouraging a union belief in the efficacy of industrial action, followed by crushing defeat at the hands of employers assisted or led by governments. These include the strikes of the 1890s, the 1911 Sugar Strike and 1912 Tramway Strike, the Rail Strike of 1925 and South Johnstone Strike of 1927, the meat dispute of 1946 and Rail Strike of 1948 and the SEQEB (South East Queensland Electricity Board) disputes of the 1980s. This chapter finds that the pattern of strike successes and failures has caused unions to reconsider their strategies towards political rather than industrial action or to the pursuit of more modest industrial aims, rather than militant activity. This chapter also argues that government action is critical in ending these major strike surges. The escalation of disputation resulted in government being invariably drawn in, particularly when essential services, such as transport and electricity supply were disrupted.

Item ID: 5621
Item Type: Book Chapter (Research - B1)
ISBN: 978-1-86287-752-8
Date Deposited: 02 Dec 2009 04:29
FoR Codes: 15 COMMERCE, MANAGEMENT, TOURISM AND SERVICES > 1503 Business and Management > 150306 Industrial Relations @ 30%
21 HISTORY AND ARCHAEOLOGY > 2103 Historical Studies > 210303 Australian History (excl Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander History) @ 50%
16 STUDIES IN HUMAN SOCIETY > 1605 Policy and Administration > 160510 Public Policy @ 20%
SEO Codes: 91 ECONOMIC FRAMEWORK > 9104 Management and Productivity > 910401 Industrial Relations @ 50%
95 CULTURAL UNDERSTANDING > 9505 Understanding Past Societies > 950503 Understanding Australias Past @ 50%
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