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Cooperation and labour management at Electrolytic Zinc and Cadbury-Fry-Pacall between 1918 and 1939

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Barton, R (1989) Cooperation and labour management at Electrolytic Zinc and Cadbury-Fry-Pacall between 1918 and 1939. Research Master thesis, University of Tasmania.

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Abstract

In the period between the First World War and the Second World War, the rirms or Cadbury-Fry-Pascall (Cadbury) and the Electrolytic Zinc Company or Australia Ltd. (E.Z) were unusual because they had extensive welrare schemes and an almost complete absence or industrial conrlict in an era that sometimes experienced quite violent industrial action. The coincidence or these two rectors was not accidental. Cadbury and E.Z had interpreted the bitter i.ndustrial conrlict at the end or the First World War was not really a demand ror more money but .a protest against their living conditions. The two rirms believed it was their obligation to cooperate with their workers and supply them with housing and other welrare benerits. This, they thought, would result in a content, committed and erricient workrorce. The crux or both these companies wslrars programmes was the planned creation or model industrial villages. The Cadbury scheme at Claremont and the E.Z scheme at Lutana both railed to reach the seals their creators had envisaged. This was basically because the companies did not want to bear the expense or building houses, and the workers did not want to live in the company sites. The other aspect of the welfare programme was the provision or medical schemes, pension funds and sporting and recreational activities and facilities. These schemes were well patronised end engendered in employees e ~eeling o~ commitment to the company. At both Cadbury and E.Z unionism was weak. This was in part because joint employer/employee bodies, such as the Works Committee at E.Z and the Factory Committee at Cadbury, undertook functions that are usually carried out by the unions. The workers at E.Z came under the Tasmanian Wages Board System, which often awarded lower wages and longer hours then Federal Arbitration Court awards. Union attempts to gain coverage under the Federal awards were successively defeated, thereby making union membership appear irrelevant. The workers et Cadbury were covered by two separate federal Arbitration Court awards ror the men and woman. The awards were structured around the organisation of work at Cadbury, and classified women's work as unskilled and men's work as skilled. The effect of the sexual division of labour perpetrated by Cadbury was to make it difficult to organise the women and defined them, rather than the Company, as a threat to the men's wages and conditions. This was reflected in the unions tendency to fight amongst themselves rather than engage Cadbury. Overall the cooperative welrsre centered industrial relations policies or Csdbury and E.Z enabled them, with the assistance or the state, to menage their labour rorce in such an errective manner they were able to virtually avoid industrial conrlict ror twenty years.

Item Type: Thesis (Research Master)
Additional Information: The University is continuing to endeavour to trace the copyright owner(s) and in the meantime this item has been reproduced here in good faith. We would be pleased to hear from the copyright owner(s).
Date Deposited: 26 Jun 2012 06:18
Last Modified: 18 Nov 2014 04:38
URI: http://eprints.utas.edu.au/id/eprint/14449
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