Browsing Vol. 33 No. 1 2007 by Issue Date
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ItemIndustrial Relations Change in the Illawarra Region of NSW: an Insight Into Responses to the Workplace Relations Act(National Institute of Labour Studies, 2007) Hodgkinson, A.; Markey, RThis paper examines the impact of the Workplace Relations Act 1996 (WRA) by looking at changes in the behaviour of panel data for workplaces in the Illawarra Region of NSW for the years 1996 and 2004. The results support the proposition that the major impact has been on the level of unionisation and union density in these workplaces. There was virtually no expansion in the use of enterprise bargaining or AWAs, although there was a small but significant increase in nonunion agreement making. Rather than encourage the use of single jurisdictions to register awards and collective agreements, in the Illawarra at least, there was a strong trend to dual State and federal jurisdictions. Thus the WRA has been relatively ineffective in achieving flexibility and decentralised employee relations goals, partly explaining why the stronger Work Choices legislation was introduced in 2005. ItemThe Aged Care Workforce: Methods to Increase Supply to Remedy Possible Shortages(National Institute of Labour Studies, 2007) Flavel, J.This paper examines the labour supply of Australian aged care workers to determine methods for increasing supply to remedy possible shortages in the workforce. The possibility of increasing supply is tested through examination of descriptive statistics and estimations of labour supply models. The findings show that supply could be increased by removing impediments to adjustment of workers' hours and by decreasing paperwork requirements to allow more work hours for direct caring tasks. The wage elasticity of supply for existing workers is found to be negative for each direct care occupation, even with a measure of labour supply that takes into account desired hours of work. This suggests that wage increases will not be effective in increasing supply of current workers and provides some evidence that aged care occupations have backward bending labour supply curves. ItemWorker Representation in Australia: Moving Towards Overseas Models?(National Institute of Labour Studies, 2007) Forsyth, A.This article examines how far, and in what ways, overseas systems of worker representation are influencing the Australian debate. After briefly exploring the diminution of legal support for worker representation over the last 15 years, the article contains a detailed analysis and comparison of recent policy proposals put forward by the Australian Council of Trade Unions and the Federal Labor Opposition. The ACTU policy draws heavily on the United States, Canadian and United Kingdom collective bargaining and union recognition systems, along with North American and (particularly) New Zealand concepts of 'good faith bargaining'. Key aspects of these overseas systems are highlighted. In contrast, the ALP industrial relations policy is a substantially diluted version of the ACTU blueprint, involving only minimal 'borrowing' from overseas worker representation laws. Importantly, stronger supports for collective bargaining - such as the NZ mechanism for arbitration of bargaining impasses - have been omitted from Labor's policy. If implemented, this would see the emergence in Australia of a blend of several overseas worker representation models, resulting in some improvement to the current legal framework's subversion of collective bargaining - but not to the extent desired by the ACTU. ItemCompounding Vulnerability? Young Workers' Employment Concerns and the Anticipated Impact of the WorkChoices Act(National Institute of Labour Studies, 2007) McDonald, P.; Bailey, Janis; Oliver, Damian; Pini, B.This paper draws on quantitative data from the Young Workers Advisory Service (YWAS), an organisation that provides information, advice, and advocacy to young workers across Queensland. Since its inception in 2002 YWAS has recorded 4,769 inquiries from young people up to the age of 25, the most frequent being (i) dismissal/redundancy; (ii) problems with pay/remuneration; (iii) issues with employment conditions (e.g., working hours, AWAs, award conditions); and (iv) workplace bullying. Further cross-tabs and qui-square analysis of these categories reveals different types of youth (by gender, age, occupation, job status and industry) who are most vulnerable. In examining the findings, particular attention is drawn to the recent regulatory change in Australia's labour market as manifest in the 2005 WorkChoices legislation. It is argued that the youth are vulnerable in employment, and that this vulnerability will only be aggravated in a deregulated employment environment. ItemIgnoring the Evidence: Comments on the Debate on Antipodean Neoliberal Workplace Reform and Labour Productivity(National Institute of Labour Studies, 2007) Perry, L JThis paper questions why a number of leading academics and politicians have ignored recent findings by Statistics New Zealand that support a prima facie case that the individualisation of workplace contracts in that country during the 1990s was associated with - contrary to earlier findings - relatively high labour productivity growth. Attention is drawn to updated estimates of Australian and New Zealand labour productivity growth. These updated data confirm the relatively high average rate of growth of labour productivity in New Zealand during the 1990s when workplace contracts were being individualised. Caution is, nonetheless, recommended when making claims about the determinants of labour productivity growth as, apart from significant measurement difficulties, workplace arrangements are not the only determinant of labour productivity.