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The Balmain ironworkers 'strike of 1945





ct vdnc. Th Gollns nd th Smths wr clos prsonl frnds; thy styd wth ch Othr n Brtn nd ustrl, thy trvlld togthr to Brtn by shp, nd T's prtty clr to m tht On of th sourcs for Dphn Golln's ssrtons tht ronworkrs lctons wr rggd ws Kt Smth. Th truth oftn coms out n th wsh, vn f 45 yrs ltr. knw both Dphn Golln nd nck Orglss. Dphn ws fsty, ntllgnt nd courgous womn nd hr lt-n-lf Lov ffr wth nck Orglss, On of th mn protgonsts n ll thos bttls, ws wrm, humn sdlght on both thr lvs nd tms. Thy'r both now dd. Both thr funrls nd wks wr lrg dvrs gthrngs of mny popl, mnly of th lft, who hd known thm nd bn nfluncd by thm. W put ths rtcls up on Ozlft s trbut to Dphn nd Nck. p> W my nvr s thr lk gn.

Nots

1. Pvn: sttly dnc populr n urop n th 16th cntury.

Th Blmn ronworkrs 'strk of 1945

Prt 1. Th fctons mrg, l942-43

By Dphn Golln

n 1945 n unprcdntd strk of rnk nd fl ronworkrs gnst thr Unon ldrs took plc on th Blmn wtrfront n Sydny. Th bttrnss of th dsput nd th stubbornnss wth whch both sds dfndd thr postons rflctd n ntgonsm whch sprng from totlly opposd poltcl nd orgnstonl prspctvs. Whthr sn prmrly s collson btwn rnk nd fl dmocrcy nd th uthortrnsm of cntrlsng Unon ldrshp, or s rvolt gnst th clss collborton of th wr polcy of th Communst Prty, or gn, s n upsurg of poltcl bckwrdnss gnst progrssv ldrshp, th Blmn strk of 1945 S On of th most poltcl nd, ndd, dologclly chrgd dsputs n th hstory of ustrln trd unons.

Why dd th Communst-LD xcutv of th Blmn brnch of th Fdrtd ronworkrs 'ssocton, whch normlly commndd mjorty t brnch mtngs, fnd T ncssry to try to slnc rnk nd fl opposton n On of th lrgst wtrfront shops? Why dd th Ntonl Councl ntrvn rrvocbly n support of th brnch xcutv's suspnson of th shop dlgt, Orglss? Ws T thought tht by rmovng Orglss from poston of mss nflunc t Mort's Dock, dscontnt mong th rnk nd fl wth th Unon's polcy nd orgnstonl chngs would b slncd? Why dd th Unon ldrshp fl thrtnd by mn who occupd poston t th lowst lvl of th Unon hrrchy, hd no voc n th Unon prss nd could not wn substntl support mong thos who usully ttndd brnch mtngs? How mportnt ws T for Communst unonsts to stmp out Trotskyst nflunc mong wtrfront workrs? To nswr ths qustons On must look t vnts n th yrs bfor 1945. p> Whn wr brok out n urop n 1939 nd ustrl's Prm Mnstr, R. G. Mnzs, nnouncd th consqunt nvolvmnt of th ustrln popl by th sd of th Brtsh, spoksmn of th trd unons pldgd th support of th lbour movmnt for th govrnmnt's wr ffort. Snc thr ws lrg rsrvor of unmployd th mjor concrn of th govrnmnt n rgrd to lbour ws not to consrv th vlbl supply of mnpowr but to mk th BST us of th lmtd numbrs of sklld mn. Th slow dvlopmnt of Lnd fghtng mnt tht th srvcs 'dmnd ws mnly for sklld trdsmn. T ws 18 months bfor th pool of unsklld nd sm-sklld lbour drd up, nd th quston of ndustrl conscrpton dd not bcom mjor On untl th wr movd clos to ustrl's shors lt n 1941. Th mn concrn of th trd unons whn wr bgn ws wth th rs n unmploymnt du to dsrupton of mrkts. Thr ws no quston but tht th lbour movmnt ntndd to dfnd ts norml ntrsts, ncludng th rght to strk. govrnmnt ttmpt to st up trd Unon dvsory pnl ws mt wth suspcon, nd rfusl by th ustrlsn Councl of Trd Unons to b rprsntd on th pnl whn T cm nto xstnc n July 1940. Th govrnmnt, howvr, dd procd wth th crton of mchnry for th rgulton of lbour nd th Dprtmnt of Lbour nd Ntonl Srvc ws stblshd n Octobr 1940, rsponsbl for sttng up n mploymnt srvc nd for ndustrl trnng nd dluton nd rstrcton of comptton for sourcs of lbour. n 1941 Mnpowr Prorts Bord ws crtd, whch ws succdd n 1942 by th Mnpowr Drctort wth powr to conscrpt nd drct lbour. lthough lmost ll th powrs nd dmnstrtv mchnry to control th llocton of rsourcs nd mnpowr wr stblshd n th Frst two yrs of th wr T ws not untl th ntry of Jpn opnd up thtr of wr n th Pcfc tht ths controls ...


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