(272) Interview with AMIEU
Newcastle Branch Representative (Sydney,
She was delighted when she found a new job in the office of a communist-led union the AMIEU. The Secretary, George Seelaf, was a Party member, a man from the ranks who had begun his working life in the meat industry in Footscray's Angliss Meatworks.
When she commenced work in January 1969 in the office of the AMIEU it was with high hopes.
However, the AMIEU managed to retain its over-award conditions through tenacious workplace resistance, prompting employers to respond with moves towards greater unity, looking increasingly towards state regulation and government intervention.
The economic downturn precipitated widespread job losses, which MATFA largely blamed on AMIEU resistance.
The initial interviews which shaped the research project were with the AMIEU South Australian Secretary, the Project Manager for the Meat Industry Attraction and Retention Project and representatives from the Food, Tourism and Hospitality (FTH) Skills Council South Australia.
The AMIEU was then chosen as the focus of this study because of its role as a labour market intermediary in the meat processing industry.
Furthermore, the particular focus of this article, employer strategy in the meat industry, is another neglected area within a scholarly (and practitioner) literature that has almost entirely focused on the AMIEU and industrial conflict.
AMIEU militancy was also a major and persistent challenge driving the concerns of meat industry employers from the early years of the twentieth century.
By the end of the O'Connors lockout, the AMIEU
had more or less exhausted every legal avenue to stop the lockout.
Admittedly, in his history of the AMIEU
, Cutler (1976) does admit that not all meat workers were inherent radicals at odds with the tenets of labourism, drawing a distinction between the militant slaughtermen who were employed in the export meat establishments and the more consevative workers who were employed in the retail meat establishments.