Labour History

Labour Culture on Screen and Online: Union Films as Mobilisation Strategies

Labour History (2014), 107, (1), 181–196.


Strikes and industrial disputes have been a regular feature of Australian working life, as has the early uptake of new media technologies in and around these struggles. Despite substantial change in the power and membership of unions in recent decades, Australian filmmakers have contributed significantly to a broader labour culture via their depictions of strikes and other trade union activities, first on film, then television and now the Internet. Of particular interest to this article are unions that encourage filmmaker-members to document the range of activities now considered as standard union initiatives. In focussing on the output of two trade unions, the Maritime Union of Australia and the NSW Nurses and Midwives Association, this article explores how the production and reception of union films adds new dimensions to members’ lives, and how these cultural projects have the potential to bind members together in solidarity.

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Author details

Milner, Lisa