Labour History

A Surprising Struggle? The AMIEU (Qld) and the Fight for Equal Wages in the Meat Processing and Export Industry in the 1950s and 1960s

Labour History (1999), 77, (1), 140–159.

Abstract

In the 1950s, the Queensland branch of the AMIEU initiated and led a campaign for equal wages for women in the meat export and processing industry. In doing so, the AMIEU (Qld) was alone, as the other state branches were not inclined to pursue the struggle and the Victorian branch actually opposed it. Over two decades, the federal union’s attitude changed to coincide with the Queensland view. A number of factors explain the Queensland branch’s stance: the influence of the CPA on the union’s leaders; the central role played by state secretary, Bert ‘Digger’ Field; the nature and structure of the industry itself; and the active involvement in the union of dedicated women meatworkers. In this, the thirtieth anniversary year of the equal wages test case, it seems appropriate to revisit the struggle fought by the union whose federal award was at the centre of the case.

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Details

Author details

Jerrard, Marjorie A.

Jerrard, Marjorie

Table of Contents

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