The impact of industrial relations law reforms in Australia since 1996 on the Union Movement

Cameron, Bridget A (2015) The impact of industrial relations law reforms in Australia since 1996 on the Union Movement. LL.M(R) thesis, University of Glasgow.

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Government industrial relations law reforms can have widespread implications on the power tussle between workers, the union, and the employer. This dissertation examines how the Australian Government’s reforms since 1996 have impacted the union movement. During this period, both left and right-wing political parties implemented new industrial relations frameworks, consequently abolishing the well-entrenched 1904 arbitration system with its preferred compulsory unionism provisions.

Key aspects of union organising and activism were analysed to determine the effects and influence of these reforms. This analysis included statistical data evaluating union membership and strike action. The principle findings of this dissertation are that the narrowing of regulations, particularly concerning freedoms to disassociate, individualism, and workplace right of entry, negatively impacted the union movement. This was evident by the declines of union membership and strike action. The reforms eroded protective collective rights resulting in a serious threat to the Australian union movement. The union movement subsequently adjusted its structural approach by adopting the organising works model. However, the implementation of the organising works model has not curbed union membership or industrial action declines.

The Abbott Coalition government is yet to make any significant labour reforms. With union membership currently representing only 17% of the workforce, the Australian union movement is in a fragile predicament as to its future.

Item Type: Thesis (LL.M(R))
Qualification Level: Masters
Keywords: Employment, employment law, industrial relations, union, trade union, union movement, union membership, Australian Council of Trade Unions, International Labour Organization, Fair Work Act 2009 (Cth), Construction, Forestry, Mining and Energy Union, Australian Industry Group, National Employment Standards
Subjects: H Social Sciences > HD Industries. Land use. Labor > HD28 Management. Industrial Management
K Law > K Law (General)
Colleges/Schools: College of Social Sciences > School of Law
Supervisor's Name: Ruth, Dr. Dukes and Claire, Dr. La Hovary
Date of Award: 2015
Depositing User: Ms Bridget A Cameron
Unique ID: glathesis:2015-6211
Copyright: Copyright of this thesis is held by the author.
Date Deposited: 27 Mar 2015 09:38
Last Modified: 30 Mar 2015 12:47

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