Dina Gerolymou

George Zangalis’ new book, Migrant Workers and Ethnic Communities,was launched on Friday night at the Victorian Trades Hall amid a packed crowd singing Solidarity for Ever.

The launch was part of the Antipodes Festival and attracted wide attention among those interested in the history of the union movement, the role of the ethnic communities, and migrant workers.

Mr Zangalis’ new book is a voluminous work of 600 pages that documents the struggles of migrant workers in the last foure decades to achieve equal rights in the workplace, as well as building a multicultural society.

It focuses on the role of Greek-Australians and dedicates chapters on culture, language and identity, the struggle to gain citizenship, the contribution of Greek-Australian women, the media and politics.

In his speech, Mr Zangalis highlighted the “Greek experience in the factories and the unions” as a pivotal one, speaking passionately about the “strikes in the 1960s, the migrant workers’ determination to improve working conditions, their fight for cultural rights and the progressive allies within the labour movement.”

He added that his book is “history written by a layman’s perspective and urged his old colleagues to document their own experiences.”