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Trade Union entry Australian Seamens Federation (1938 - 1942)

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    Chart 16: Trade Unions - Maritime and Stevedoring

Trade Union (Federal)
Reference No
Deregistered [was 187V]


In the wake of the Seamen's Strike of 1935, volunteers used as non-unionised labour to break the industrial impasse, organised themselves into the Australian Seamens' Federation [ASF], which was finally registered in 1938 after two earlier attempts had failed. Their greatest stumbling block, up until 1938, had been the Seamens' Union of Australasia [SUA] whose strike the volunteers had sabotaged. Despite opposition from the SUA and other maritime unions, the Australian Seamens' Federation grew, so that by September 1939 about one third of all employed seamen were volunteers. Made up of naval reservists, former SUA men and unskilled men, the Australian Seamens' Federation was continually opposed and confronted by the Seamens' Union of Australasia, sometimes violently, and by 1941 the union was suffering dwindling numbers. By 1942, the President of the Australian Seamens' Federation had joined the SUA, heralding the anticipated declaration by the Commonwealth Arbitration Court that the ASF had failed to meet its obligations under the requirements of the Commonwealth Conciliation and Arbitration Act and was should therefore be deregistered.

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Chart 16: Trade Unions - Maritime and Stevedoring


Bruce A. Smith