Vol. 32 No. 4 2006
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ItemInsider Power, Outsider Ineffectiveness and Wage Setting Institutions: Evidence from Australia(National Institute of Labour Studies, 2006)Insider-outsider theories have been advanced to explain a range of phenomena, principally the persistence of unemployment. This paper uses data from the Australian Workplace Industrial Relations Survey 1995, and regional labour force survey data, to test this model. The paper also examines how enterprise bargaining influences the relative power positions of insiders and outsiders. The paper finds provisional support for the insider-outsider distinction, and for the idea that enterprise level wage bargaining enhances insider power at the expense of outsiders.
ItemLabour Market Reforms and Lockouts in New Zealand(National Institute of Labour Studies, 2006)This paper reviews New Zealand’s experience of lockouts over the last nearly two decades. It employs published and unpublished official (Statistics New Zealand) data plus unofficial data on the following, hitherto ignored, dimensions of lockouts: (i) employees involved in lockouts, (ii) person-days lost due to lockouts and (iii) the average duration of lockouts. The patterns of lockouts are compared for different New Zealand politico-legislative eras from 1986 to 2004. It is found that there has been, over time, a declining trend in the incidence of person-days lost due both to strikes and to lockouts in New Zealand. But the relative incidence of person-days lost due to lockouts vis a vis strikes rose quite sharply during the middle years of the operation of the union-hostile Employment Contracts Act, 1991. Comparisons are made with Australian experience. There are some notable similarities in the pattern of lockouts in both countries, including the tendency for the average duration of lockouts to be considerably longer than the average the duration of strikes.
ItemVoting with Their Feet: Family Friendliness and Parent Employment in Australian Industries, 1981-2001(National Institute of Labour Studies, 2006)Most Australian industries have instigated some family-friendly provisions, but these vary. In some industries, the span of ordinary work hours has also changed, requiring work on evenings, weekends and holidays. Have these changes affected where parents work? Charting 1981 to 2001 Census data, we found that fathers showed an overall decline as a proportion of employed men, with little difference among industries. Mothers also declined as a proportion of employed women, but with divergent industry trends. Retail showed a steep (7 per cent) drop in mothers, following the deregulation of shopping hours. By contrast, the industry with the most family-friendly conditions at the start of the study period (public service) increased its share of mothers by 6 percent.
ItemProtecting Employee Entitlements: Corporate Governance and Industrial Democracy in Australia(National Institute of Labour Studies, 2006)The protection of employee entitlements has been an issue of public policy debate following several major corporate failures including HIH and Ansett. While protection remains paramount on the public policy agenda and in the campaigns of trade unions, we argue that there is an equally important, yet neglected issue associated with employee entitlements. Employees are involuntary lenders of capital to their employing organisations. They do not receive interest on their loans and importantly they are invariably denied information, monitoring and voice rights within their organisations. In this article we argue that these rights should be granted to reduce risk to entitlements and in exchange for employer access to this capital.
ItemThe Changing Contours of Labour Disputes and Conflict Resolution in Australia: Towards a Post-Arbitral Measurement Framework(National Institute of Labour Studies, 2006)The structured, predictable pattern of labour disputes and conflict resolution under the conciliation and arbitration system has changed significantly since the decentralisation of wage-setting. Some of the major changes include the reemergence of employer lockouts, the growth in disputes over union recognition and the type of workplace agreement and the use of other forms of dispute resolution such as private mediators and the common law courts. The disputation statistics of the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) have traditionally been amongst the most comprehensive in the OECD and recent adjustments have been made since the introduction of enterprise bargaining. Adjusting classification and measurement systems amidst significant institutional change is a difficult task but it will be argued that the restructured framework does not fully reflect the changed contours of labour disputes and conflict resolution. The ways in which the patterns of disputation and conflict resolution have changed since the move away from the classical arbitral model will be outlined before presenting a reworked framework for measuring and classifying labour disputes which incorporates these changes.
ItemWill Older Workers Change Their Retirement Plans in Line with Government Thinking? A Review of Recent Literature on Retirement Intentions(National Institute of Labour Studies, 2006)This paper reviews recent retirement and retirement intention literature, with a view to assessing the acceptability of growing calls for later retirement and the conditions that may lead to a change in present plans. The review finds broad consensus with regard to the key factors that enter the retirement decision, significant among which are that financial considerations are not always prioritised, and that high rates of involuntary retirement may hold the key to understanding the recent trend to early retirement. Across a broad range of studies, many external factors serve to disrupt retirement intentions, which exceed actual retirement by 1 to 3 years and desired retirement age by double that margin. The findings indicate an elasticity of around 6 years wherein actual retirement could now move up or down depending on how well revisions to retirement, and labour market policy, accord with the needs and interests of older workers. They also illustrate a related need for more information on the retirement intentions and circumstances of women, whose increasing labour force participation at older ages appears to account for the recent small increase in Australia's average retirement age.