There are not many films about Australian strikes. This documentary is one of the very few. It tells the story of the Latrobe Valley Power Workers’ Strike in Victoria in 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 workers and the general community all over Australia. It challenged the arbitration and indexation systems.
After nearly 3 months, the strike suddenly failed. This film examines the reason for this defeat by looking at the roles played by key trade union officials representing the workers. 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 was defeated.
Friends and Enemies expresses the spirit of working people struggling to improve their conditions, tempered by the bitterness of defeat.
A film by Peter Gray and Garry Lane
Music composed and played by Jim Conway and Janie Conway
Narrated by Max Strong
Location Sound by Lou Chin
Format 16mm film