TRANSFORMATION OF AUSTRALIAN INDUSTRIAL RELATIONS essays
"TRANSFORMATION OF AUSTRALIAN INDUSTRIAL RELATIONS"
A major transformation in the structures and processes that underpin industrial relations arrangements in Australia appears to have occurred during the last 10 years or so. There has been a move away from reliance on third parties, instead encouraging employers and employees to reach agreements at the enterprise level. The Workplace Relations Act 1996, provided a regulatory framework for further transition from a centralised and regulated industrial relations system to a decentralised and deregulated one. While political forces have influenced the timing and pace of change, ultimately it has been the wider changes of information and communication technology, general globalisation, and the labour market that have driven the change.
In an effort to juggle political, social and economic pressures the State continually intervenes in the form of industrial relations structures and processes. However, its complex of corporatist and enterprise solutions invariably contain the seed of tomorrow's problem.
Unions have been slow to adapt to the changing industrial relations landscape. Trade union membership has fallen and is now concentrated in a handful of large industry and multi-industry unions. Levels of industrial action have also significantly fallen. The future role of unions is unclear.
The frontier of control in the employment relationship has moved in favour of employers. Their associations have adapted to the changes by providing commercial services in addition to traditional representation. Employers are cooperatively accommodating HRM strategies directly with employees.
Economic, social, political and globalisation drivers have resulted in a change in the form, rather than the level, of the State's intervention in the employment relationship. The tribunal based systems of conciliation and arbitration that have shaped labour-management relationships sin…