The Origins of Worker Mobilisation: Australia 1788 – 1850

IMHA welcomes news of our members recent publications. In this post we feature the work of member Professor Michael Quinlan from the School of Organisation and Management at the University of New South Wales. Michael’s recent book features a chapter on collective action by seamen, whalers and sealers. The chapter draws on a range of sources including court records, newspapers and logbooks and covers all Australian colonies. The book also includes mention of other relevant maritime activities including the regulation of maritime workers.

This is a book on how and why workers come together. Almost coincident with its inception, worker organisation is a central and enduring element of capitalism. In the 19th and 20th centuries’ mobilisation by workers played a substantial role in reshaping critical elements of these societies in Europe, North America, Australasia and elsewhere including the introduction of minimum labour standards (living wage rates, maximum hours etc.), workplace safety and compensation laws and the rise of welfare state more generally.

This book provides a new perspective on and new insights into how and why workers organise, and what shapes this organisation. The Origins of  Worker Mobilisation will be key reading for scholars, academics and policy makers the fields of industrial relations, HRM, labour economics, labour history and related disciplines.