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Latrobe Valley Power Workers' Strike (1977)



The response to the strike by the Government and big business was savage. A State of Emergency was declared. The workers were vilified for "holding the State to ransom." Military intervention in the strike was threatened. Despite the forces against the workers and their families, the strike built to a strength where it seemed certain to succeed. It had the overwhelming support of other workers and the general community all over Australia. It also challenged the arbitration and indexation systems. After nearly 3 months, the strike suddenly failed. The story is told through the eyes of the striking workers and their wives. They piece together why one of the most important strikes of that decade did not succeed. Friends and Enemies expresses the spirit of working people struggling to improve their conditions, tempered by the bitterness of defeat. Despite the outcome, the strike had a profound effect on the future of the Latrobe Valley. It served to instigate a wide range of positive changes and improvements for the workers in the decade to follow. (Peter Gray)



  • Peter Gray and Garry Lane, Know Your Friends, Know Your Enemies, Narrated by Max Strong (shop steward) Location Sound by Lou Chin, Peter Gray [this copy courtesy Peter Gray], 1977. Also available at Details