Kemira: Diary of a Strike (1984)

Genres - Culture & Society  |   Sub-Genres - Social Issues  |   Run Time - 61 min.  |   Countries - Australia  |  
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Director Tom Zubrycki probes the human cost of the aftermath of a 1982 coal-miners' strike at Wollongong on the south coast of Australia in this compassionate and concise documentary. The strike began when the enormous BHP mining company announced it would let go of 400 miners, even though the company had a profit of more than $300,000,000 the year before. The union sought to stop the layoffs by taking the company to court, and the miners' plight received national attention when they quite literally broke through the doors of the parliament building, sending glass flying. The company ostensibly agreed to a settlement -- and then continued to lay off miners as though nothing had happened. Zubrycki picks up on the lives of several of the jobless miners after some time has elapsed and discovers that many are still without work, marriages have ended under the stress, and families have been divided up in order to cope economically. Although the subject is deadly serious, Zubrycki has lightened it here and there with humor and warmth -- making the documentary more palatable for a broad audience.