'Harmony ... between the employer and employed': Employer support for union formation in Brisbane, 1857-90
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While there has been much research on union formation there has been little analysis of the ways in which employers assisted this process. This paper contends that such support was a precondition for union success in Brisbane prior to the mid-1880s. Employers supported unionism for different reasons, with motives changing over time. Prior to the late 1870s the unions' principal sponsors were the major employers in the trade each union organised. These employers supported unionism because industrial regulation suited their business interests. After 1879, the employers who assumed union leadership roles were largely driven by ideological sympathies rather than financial considerations. Under such leaders the union movement pursued an increasingly independent course.
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