The Return of the Lockout

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Perry, L J
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National Institute of Labour Studies
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This paper comments on lockouts in Australia and Briggs’ (2004a) study of lockouts published in the Australian Bulletin of Labour June 2004. It seeks to look at Briggs findings in a broader historical context, by noting that recent past levels of disputes are a small fraction of the level of disputation during (say) the 1970s, and that lockouts, though more prevalent during the half-decade ended 2003, are an even smaller fraction of the disputation levels that prevailed on average during the 1970s. Briggs study focuses on the manufacturing sector, as this sector has, according to his research findings, been the most lockout-prone. As an addendum to Briggs focus on manufacturing, this paper draws attention to the non-manufacturing sector, which accounts for more than 85 per cent of Australian employees. It is noted that working days lost due to lockouts in this sector have decreased during the half-decade ended 2003 when compared to the preceding half-decade. Indeed, the decline in lockouts in the non-manufacturing sector during the half-decade ended 2003 exceeds the decline in strikes.
Perry, L.J. , 2005. The Return of the Lockout. Australian Bulletin of Labour, Vol. 31 No. 1, pp. 33-39