Australian Left Review

Article Title

New Dimensions in Unionism


Charlie Gifford


Since the early 1960's there has been continuing debate on the left, in official labor and social democratic movements, and among the more far-sighted of the ruling class in all developed countries, on “ problems” of modern unionism. The social and economic basis for this preoccupation is clear enough, certainly clearer now than a decade ago. In Australia, unionism’s mettle was blunted and its old aims blurred by the relatively comfortable containment of post war economic prosperity. As with all self-perpetuating institutions, its structures and methods had become obsolete, through changes in society’s economic base and the growth of non-institutional social movements. Time, and peoples needs, had gone past the traditions of the '30’s.