The pickets on East Swanston Dock in Melbourne were a telling factor in the failure of the strategy by the government and Patricks to crush the MUA.
At the point when the National Farmers Federation (NFF) were most keen to get their scabs on the docks they were unable to prevent ten thousand pickets massed at the gates of the East Swanston Docks. But more than that, when the Victorian police were preparing to remove the pickets they were outmanoeuvred by the building workers who marched up behind them. The CFMEU had answered the call of the MUA in the best way possible.
This incident became known as The Long Night and was the turning point of the dispute. Indeed, it was decisive. The police were unable to contain the pickets. Mass action had overwhelmed the coercive power of the state and the court system. It is described below by one of the participants who supported the union against the employer and the government.
‘The Long Night’
by Pamela Curr
– read by Ian Curr Continue reading