Mining Jobs No Experience
In the winter of 1948, a post-war darkness felled Britain and happiness, like sweets, was tightly rationed. So begins Harry Leslie Smith's bitter-sweet memoir: The Empress of Australia which depicts life in post-war Yorkshire. Recently demobbed from the RAF, Smith and his German war bride must try to adjust to a civilian society that is scarred from not only the war but the harsh reality of living in peacetime Britain. At first, Harry Leslie Smith finds himself ill equipped for this brave new world where Britain has lost its empire and is bankrupt. Yet, like so many other returning veterans from the Second World War, Smith stumbled onwards through the era known as the "Age of Austerity" to confront the horrors of his childhood and the innate injustice of a society divided by class. Harry Leslie Smith sketches a real, sometimes amusing and sometimes melancholic portrait of Britain in the late 1940s. In his book, Smith speaks for all generations who have faced untold hardships in their quest for dignity and purpose during times of financial, political and familial upheaval. The Empress of Australia is a personal history of one man's journey towards self discovery and freedom from row house Britain. Sometimes, after the war, peace is the hardest battle to survive.
In the late 1960s Australian unionism was on the flood tide: growing in strength, industrially confident and capable of shaping the overall political climate of the nation. Forty years on, union membership and power is ebbing away despite community support for trade unionism and the continuing need for strong unions. Even the unprecedented mobilisation against WorkChoices, which defeated a government and lost the prime minister his own seat, has done little to turn the tide. With compelling rigour, Tom Bramble explores the changing fortunes of what was once an entrenched institution. Trade Unionism in Australia charts the impact on unions of waves of economic restructuring, a succession of hostile governments and a wholesale shift in employer attitudes, as well as the failure of the unions' own efforts to boost membership and consolidate power. Indeed, Bramble demonstrates how the tactics employed by unions since the early 1980s may have paradoxically contributed to their decline. Ultimately this timely book traces union-led action from the workplace to the political sphere over a period of significant change, and concludes by pointing to strategies for a renewal and revival of Australian unions.
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