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Without bosses

Radical Australian Trade Unionism in the 1970s

Sam Oldham



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Interventions Inc
16 March 2020
Regional studies; History; Australasian & Pacific history; Central government policies; Industrial relations
Without Bosses gives a fascinating insight into radical currents that developed in Australian trade unionism during the 1970s. In those years of radicalism and social movements, rank-and-file trade unionists pushed the boundaries of action, in some cases setting global precedents. Trail-blazing actions include the mass strike action against the penal powers in 1969, and the famous green bans of the Builders Labourers' Federation in the following years. The book also details less well known but fascinating experiments with self-management and workers' control. At factories, coal mines, and building sites across the country, workers 'sacked' their managers and supervisors, took over their workplaces and ran them without bosses. These actions were a radical departure from the traditionally recognised activities of trade unions. Without Bosses draws on a wealth of archival material and individual interviews. It overflows with incredible and inspiring stories from a critically important period in Australian history. For anyone interested in labour history, left-wing ideas, and the power of unions, it is required reading.
By:   Sam Oldham
Imprint:   Interventions Inc
Dimensions:   Height: 210mm,  Width: 148mm,  Spine: 11mm
Weight:   240g
ISBN:   9780648760306
ISBN 10:   0648760308
Pages:   198
Publication Date:   16 March 2020
Audience:   General/trade ,  ELT Advanced
Format:   Paperback
Publisher's Status:   Active

Sam Oldham is an interdisciplinary researcher based in Melbourne. His work on trade unions has won the Gollan Prize for Australian Labour History and the Monash University Historical Studies Masters Prize. He has been a member of several unions and a branch chair for the New Zealand secondary teachers' union. Sam is currently a doctoral candidate at the University of Melbourne.

Reviews for Without bosses: Radical Australian Trade Unionism in the 1970s

'The book demonstrates that labour militancy and the practice of worker control is not an antediluvian form drawn from the early 20th century, but a compelling force in more recent times with a powerful legacy in the present... activists in the present should take heart in the fact that the urge for workers' power is never far from the surface.' Immanuel Ness Professor of Political Science, Brooklyn College, City University of New York

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