Industrial Relations Change in the Illawarra Region of NSW: an Insight Into Responses to the Workplace Relations Act

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Date
2007
Authors
Hodgkinson, A.
Markey, R
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National Institute of Labour Studies
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Abstract
This 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.
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Hodgkinson, A., Markey, R., 2007. Industrial Relations Change in the Illawarra Region of NSW: an Insight Into Responses to the Workplace Relations Act. Australian Bulletin of Labour, Vol. 33 No. 1, pp. 32-59.