The Politics of Work: Gender and Labour in Victoria, 1880-1939
Cambridge University Press
Publication Date :
1 Jan 1993
Australia has a strong tradition of labour historiography, which until recently has been focused on the institutions of the labour movement: trade unions and labour parties. This book shifts the focus back to the workplace and looks at how and why the nature of work changed during the period from the late nineteenth century to World War II. The book focuses on three industries in the state of Victoria: clothing, bootmaking, and printing. Concerned with the complex relationship between economic and technological change, the nature of sexual division in the workforce, and the role of union, employer and state activists, it carefully traces the impact of all of these factors on wage levels for men and women. The treatment of these themes touches on wide historical issues, as we follow the fortunes of Victorian manufacturing, and consider the political strategies of the trade unions of the time and the state's response to them. The study is also an important piece of social history, evoking the nature of work for many Australians of the period.