Green Bans, Red Union

Green Bans, Red Union : The saving of a city

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At the height of the building boom in the 1970s, a remarkable campaign stopped billions of dollars worth of indiscriminate development that was turning Australian cities into concrete jungles. Enraging employers and politicians but delighting many in the wider community, the members of the NSW Builders Labourers' Federation risked their jobs to preserve buildings, bush and parkland. The direct impact of this green bans movement can be seen all over Sydney.

Green Bans, Red Union documents the development of a union that took a stand. Apart from the green bans movement, union members also used industrial power to defend women's rights, gay rights and indigenous rights. In telling the colourful story that inspired many environmentalists and ordinary citizens - and gave the word 'green' an entirely new meaning - Meredith Burgmann and Verity Burgmann open a window on a period when Australian workers led the world in innovative and stunningly effective forms of environmental protest.

A new introduction reconsiders the impact of the now iconic green bans movement at a time when workers' organisations around the world are looking to fight back against overdevelopment and global warming more strongly than ever before.
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Product details

  • Paperback | 366 pages
  • 153 x 234 x 20.83mm | 562.45g
  • Sydney, NSW, Australia
  • English
  • Revised
  • 2nd Revised edition
  • 1742235409
  • 9781742235400
  • 861,704

Review quote

'The definitive account of the glory days of the NSW Builders Labourers' Federation and the green bans.'
- Australian Society for the Study of Labour History
'The authors throw abundant light on the diverse aspects of the revolutionary direction taken by the NSW BLF in these years.'
- Rebel Worker
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About Meredith Burgmann

Meredith Burgmann was a Member of the Legislative Council of NSW (Labor) from 1991 and President from 1999 until 2007. She was then elected as a councillor for the City of Sydney. Previously a Senior Lecturer in Politics at Macquarie University, she was the first woman President of the Academics' Union in NSW (now NTEU). She was actively involved in the green ban movement and was arrested many times, including for defending the Victoria Street green ban. She wrote her PhD on the Green Bans and has written extensively on industrial relations and women's issues including as editor of Dirty Secrets: Our ASIO files published by NewSouth in 2014.

Verity Burgmann is Adjunct Professor of Political Science in the School of Social Sciences at Monash University. She is the author of numerous studies of labour and social movements, including In Our Time (1985), Power and Protest (1993), Revolutionary Industrial Unionism (1995), Power, Profit and Protest (2003), Climate Politics and the Climate Movement (2012) and Globalization and Labour in the Twenty-First Century (2016).
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