Establishing the Bougainville Mining Workers' Union, 1969-1976

Michael Hess, Ewan Maidment, Keimelo Gima

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    1 Citation (Scopus)


    Bougainville Copper Limited's Panguna mine was a huge and complex undertaking that, despite its potential for creating social disruption, operated successfully for two decades before the outbreak of armed conflict in 1988. One source of conflict, common in mining but neglected in previous research on Bougainville, is labour relations and, in particular, how a local workforce was integrated into a system of negotiation that facilitated the operation of the mine by limiting the level and intensity of workplace conflict. Between 1969 and 1988, the Bougainville Mining Workers Union (BMWU) played a key role in this structure of accommodation of conflicting interests. This paper uncovers the history of how the BMWU developed the capacity to represent its members' interests successfully and play a positive role in conflict resolution.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)21-42
    Number of pages22
    JournalJournal of Pacific History
    Issue number1
    Publication statusPublished - 2 Jan 2016


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