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22 January - The union meets

On 22 January, Melbourne members of the Agricultural Implement Makers’ Union (AIMU), including many from the Sunshine Harvester Works, gathered at a mass meeting. The unionists had tried to better their wages and conditions through lobbying government and arguing their case in the conciliation and arbitration court, but had met with little success. They now believed that a strike was the only way to achieve their goals.

The AIMU decided that all workers in the agricultural implements trade in Melbourne had to join the union if they were to have any power. They announced ‘that all non-unionists be given three weeks opportunity to join the union, failing which the executive advises unionist members to refuse to work with them’.

Punch cartoon titled When Might is Right
Cartoon from a 1911 edition of Punch (Melbourne) shows a unionist trying to force agricultural implements manufacturers, represented as HV McKay, to remove non-unionist labour from their factories.
National Library of Australia

Excerpt from the Melbourne Argus, 16 February 1911

Excerpt from the Melbourne Argus 16 February 1911 titled Men's Grievances
National Library of Australia
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