At the end of World War I, some major employers in Australia such as the NSW Railways in 1919 imported 'Whitleyism
' from the UK in the hope that joint committees of management and labour would promote workplace harmony in a period of labour unrest.
This ranged from the National Industrial Council, setup in 1911, to the National Industrial Conference, set up in 1919, through campaigns for 'Whitleyism
' and various bodies encompassing major figures of both sides of industry such as the National Alliance of Employers and Employed and the Industrial League.
The position of local government as a major employer of labour is usefully examined in the context of Whitleyism
. But in dealing with services--watergas, electricity, transport, hospital services, education and housing--the book gives an historical account.
So widespread was the popular appeal of Whitleyism at this time that even Allan Smith, the strongly antilabor head of the Engineering Employers' Federation who served as chair of the employers' group on the joint committee, felt compelled publicly to support the Whitley Councils approach, even though he privately opposed such cooperation.
Carter Goodrich was essentially correct when he observed that there was "no break in the long series from Syndicalism to Whitleyism:' nor, he might have added, from Whitleyism to company unionism.