Where beer was thicker than blood

barmaids strike 1967

Amos Hotel barmaids made a smart contingent in the march through Newcastle streets by hotel employees during their stoppage last month

By Henry McCarthy

THE licensee of the Amos Hotel in Newcastle employed his sister as a barmaid and, because he believed that blood was thicker than beer, refused to put her in the union. He told the other barmaids who were demanding that she join the union under the Licensing Act he could employ a relative as a non-union worker.

The barmaids said that they didn’t know too much about the Licensing Act, but they were pretty well clued about what should be done when it came to working with a non-unionist. They said they would stop-work quicker than it takes to blow the froth off a middy and the publican and his sister could pull all the beer they wanted and drink it themselves, as they would have to do when the word got around.

Newcastle is a funny town like that. Jim Clark, their union secretary, was called and he advised that as they were on the eve of their general stop-work meetings of a few weeks ago, it would be better to wait until after this so as not to confuse a big issue with a smaller one.

The barmaids agreed and after the Newcastle stop work meeting, Jim Clark had a stern talk to the publican. The publican gave him that bit about the Licensing Act again and then played his trump card — he said the manager of Toohey’s brewery was standing behind him. This didn’t seem to worry Jim Clark over-much, he said there might be a strike by the barmaids the next day, and he would have to talk to them about it and let them decide.

The next day when he arrived the publican told him there was no need to call a meeting of the staff. He said the manager of Toohey’s Brewery had instructed him to get his sister into the union without further delay.

The manager was standing behind him alright — a long way behind!

– Tribune Wednesday 15 March 1967

Categories: Barmaids, Newcastle hotels, NSW hotels

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