The Metals – Anatomy Of A Union

Australian Workers Film Guide


In the wake of 1993 legislation granting unions the right to bargain with companies on behalf of members in their workplace, this film charts a protracted industrial negotiation process between WAMAC, a small non-union metal fabrication business in Sydney, and a collection of mostly migrant union members of the Automotive, Food, Metals and Engineering Union (AFMEU).

Led by union organiser Dave Oliver, the employees win union access to their workplace and the right to collective bargaining to improve wages and conditions. The film observes the union gaining access to the workplace, the establishment of democratic decision-making by the members and a protracted negotiation process with the company owners that ultimately concludes with a worker victory. 

Special Notes/Achievements

Produced in association with SBS Independent.

  • Screened on SBS TV, 1996

Author: J Bird, 2023

Duration: 56 mins

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