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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 firms or Cadbury-Fry-Pascall (Cadbury) and
the Electrolytic Zinc Company or Australia Ltd. (E.Z)
were unusual because they had extensive welfare schemes
and an almost complete absence or industrial conflict 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 industrial
conflict at the end or the First World War was not really
a demand for more money but a protest against their
living conditions. The two firms believed it was their
obligation to cooperate with their workers and supply
them with housing and other welfare benefits. This, they
thought, would result in a content, committed and
efficient workforce.
The crux or both these companies welfare 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 a
feeling of 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 than federal Arbitration Court
awards. Union attempts to gain coverage under the federal
awards were successively defeated, thereby making union
membership appear irrelevant. The workers at Cadbury were
covered by two separate federal Arbitration Court awards
for 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 welfare centered industrial
relations policies of Cadbury and E.Z enabled them, with
the assistance or the state, to menage their labour force
in such an effective manner they were able to virtually
avoid industrial conflict for twenty years.

Item Type: Thesis (Research Master)
Copyright Holders: The Author
Copyright Information:

Copyright 1989 the author.

Date Deposited: 26 Jun 2012 06:18
Last Modified: 16 May 2016 22:23
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