Trade Unionism in Australia

28 Oct 2008
Dr Tom Bramble's new book on the history of trade unionism has been hailed as an important contribution to our understanding of Australia's recent history. Award-winning journalist John Pilger said Tom's book was 'an important and fluent reminder that nothing is gained without a fight'. Bramble said the book reviewed the period from the 1960s - when the union movement was on the up and up - through to the movement's current woes. He said, "Immediately after the Second World War, there was an upsurge in union membership, reinforced by a working-class revival in early 1960s." "By the late 1960s Australian unionism was on the flood tide; growing in strength, industrially confident, and capable of shaping the political climate of the nation." "Forty years on, union membership and support is ebbing away - despite community support and the continuing need for strong unions." "Even the unprecedented mobilisation against WorkChoices, which defeated a government and lost the Prime Minister his own seat, hasn't been able to revive the flagging fortunes of unions in this country." Bramble said all was far from lost for the union movement. "Australia's unions face significant challenges but I am confident that the movement's prospects for revival are encouraging." Trade Unionism in Australia: A History from Flood to Ebb Tide is published by Cambridge.