The Barrier Industrial Council was formed between 1923 and 1924 to coordinate the local unions in their struggle, This was previously conducted by the Workers' Industrial Union of Australia (for miners) and other unions affiliated with the Trades and Labour Council.
Unionism has a long and distinguished history in the city of Broken Hill. As long ago as 1890 virtually every worker on the line of lode belonged to a union - either to one of several small unions or to the giant Amalgamated Miners' Association which was at the time one of the most powerful unions of Australia. The union's original office (the AMA Rooms) still stands and can be found down the street next to the fire station.
The tradesmen's unions had a council of their own called the Iron Trades Council. The Amalgamated Miner's Association was content to be affiliated with the Australian Coal and Shoal Employees' Federation.
In 1924 the Council changed its name to the Barrier Industrial and Political Council but in December 1924 the word 'Political' was dropped and the present name Barrier Industrial Council first appeared.
Attacks upon the BIC have caused it and its constituents to regroup and reinvent itself. What has not changed is its ideology and objectives; that is, the protection and improvement of all aspects of workers' lives, including their social and family life.
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