This is a humorous short film about the risk of misinformation and hearsay within the union movement when dealing with potential disputes between workers and management. Directed by Keith Gow, a former member of Waterside Workers Film Unit, the film’s humour and style is reminiscent of Four’s A Crowd (1957), a comedy produced by the Film Unit highlighting the negative consequences of bad behavior by individual workers on the union as a whole.
The fictional storyline revolves around a change of working hours posted to a company’s notice board, which is followed by a heated stop work meeting outside the factory. Faced with an angry mob and without attention to detail or properly appraising the facts, the union delegate declares that he will take the matter to the union.
Arriving at the union offices, an angry and emotional delegate proclaims his objection to the change in working hours, which according to his figures will result in an extra 15 minutes of working time per day. When asked by the union official if all the workers are united against the changes, the delegate neglects to mention dissenting voices and proceeds to inject a range of personal and general reasons for not wanting to start work 30 minutes earlier. Concerned the extended working time is a breach of the union agreement, the union official agrees to pay a visit to the worksite the next day. However, after leaving the union office, the delegate makes a call back to his workplace and discovers that he got his facts wrong and there is no increase in working time.
Produced by Film Australia for the Australian Council For Union Training.
Author: J Bird, 2023