Jack Mundey, a path breaker in militant unionism and a pioneer of the Green Bans movement in Australia, leaves a lasting legacy and a set of challenges for ecologists and socialists, writes Jim McIlroy.
NSW Builders Labourers Federation
In the early 1970s, an unlikely alliance of builders labourers, environmentalists, residents and LGBTIQ activists united to support the Green (and Pink) bans which helped save huge swathes of Sydney, and other parts of New South Wales, from the wrecking ball.
Any book on the modern urban heritage movement would at least make mention of Jack Mundey and the 1960s Green Bans, but for Sydney-based architect James Colman, Mundey’s figure continues to loom large over his city.
Fifty years ago building worker activists took back control of their union, the NSW Builders Labourers Federation (BLF), from a leadership clique that ignored the members. Under the new leadership of , the re-energised BLF created high standards for workplace safety, decent pay, union democracy, accountable leadership, community engagement and, most famously, Green Bans.