Industrial Relations: INDUSTRIAL RELATIONS IS THE STUDY OF HOW PEOPLE IN POWER MAKE DECISIONS WHICH EFFECT THE RELATIONSHIPS BETWEEN EMPLOYERS AND EMPLOYEES Summary: * Can be the cause of success or failure of business * IR is effected by the marco environment * The government and unions play a vital role in IR negociations, from these negotiatons laws sometimes are altered. * Governments have control through legislation to enforce things such as working conditions and pay. They generally rely on independant tribunals to settle the matters of industrial conflict. * IRC (Industrial Relations Commission) is responsible for the majority of the conciliation and arbitration in this country * Unions effectiveness depends largely on the number of workers in registered unions Vs's the amount which are independant * Employers like employees don't all have the one union but have ones specialised for their particular area * Different types of trade unions have different policies and practices, power and influence * Larger firms (with generally larger number of employees) have quite a lot of people involved with the IR of the business * Six Parties in Australian IR: - State & Federal Government - Industrial Tribunals - Employers - Employers associations - Trade Unions - Employees * Business Union Structure: - Shop Steward - Acts as a union representitive between the union and it's members | | - Industrial Officers / Union Organisers - Travel between worksites settling local disputes | | - State Executive - Take care of serious disputes and taks reports by industrial officers | | - State Council - Determines long term policies for their state in which unions must obey | | - Federal Council / Conference - This is where state unions are joined at a federal level who then delegates a Federal Exec. - Federal Executive - Decides on national policies of the union Graph of Heirarchy of the IR Process: Australian IRC (Industrial relations commission) | | Federally registered ----------------------- Federal Employers branch of union Association | | | | Union Company board Executive of directors | | | | Union Human resource Organiser Management | | | | Shop Supervisor Steward | | | | | Individual ------------- Grievance ------------- Foreperson Workers (Dispute) * In small businesses discussions may only go on between the boss and the employee(s) * Types of unions: - Craft - Based on trade/craft, regardless of industry - Occupational - Based on specific occupational classification eg.print related - Industry - Covers specific industry - General - Covers everyone (eg.ACTU) * Types of employer associations come in two types: - Single Industry - Multi Industry * Role of the government in IR is to: - Establish the Conciliation and Arbitration Act - In the Conciliation stage bring parties together - In the Arbitration stage enforce decisions to be made * Role of Federal Industrial Court: - Industrial Devision of Federal Court of Australia (1956) - Interpretation/Enforcement of awards - Offences concerning membership of organisations - Secret Ballots and Union elections - Breaches of Union rules - Recovery of wages when employers have not been paying award rates - Established 1976 * Forms of non-strike industrial reactions: - Work Bans (See Terminology) - Pickets (" ") - Boycotts (" ") - Rules (Setting rules of return) * Methods in which the IRC (Established 1988) can vary awards: - 'Ban claus' - Insert into an award to make a strike illegal and stopping the person from getting paid if they strike - Stand down claus - Gives the employer the right to suspend employees, without pay, who have been left idle due to others strikes - Cancelling awards - Deregistering a union - Leaving a union powerless eg.BLF (Builders, Labourers Federation) History of Industrial Relations: Summary: * Did not originate in Australia but in Middle Ages * Australian IR is a DUAL system, Federal and state * Before the Industrial Revolution production was basically subsistence, with any surplus being used for exchange in the local markets * The Industrial Revolution changed the way production was organised. It was broken down so instead of people being multi-skilled and finishing a project single handed they were now assigned more simple, repetitive tasks * As the division of labour and mechanisation of production developed large sums of money were needed, this money was called Capital. * The individual craftsman could no longer afford to setup production * As the economy developed the individual worker became a commodity and therefore could be manipulated as well, this did not only occur with factory workers but also occured with the 'working class' * It became harder for the worker to deprive a employer of his services * Section 51 of the Australian Constitution limits the power of the Government to be involved with IR Development of unions in Australia: - Time Line 1829 - Government brought in 'Masters and Servants Act' (Setting out wages and conditions) 1840's - Development of craft unions 1880's - Unskilled and semi-skilled unions formed 1890 - South Australian Government passes the first Arbitration Bill 1890's - A.L.P. (Australian Labor Party) formed 1904 - Conciliation And Arbitration Act passed 1907 - Harvester case (Sets basic wage) Recent 20th Century developments: - Increase in trade unions - Trade union membership decreases from 55% in the 1980's to less than 42% now - 1980's bring a drop in private sector membership and an increase in part time and casual employees - 1990's introduce Enterprise Bargining into the workplace Recent IR Issues: - Wharfies dispute involving the Maritime Union of Australia. It involved the retrenchment of 55 employees (2/3rd's union reps) for failure to agree to an enterprise agreement. The federal government took over mediation of this dispute. Employees believe it wasn't a 'just cause' for the sackings. New enterprise agreements were drawn up, and with much mediation, this problem has now been solved, and workers across the country have returned to their jobs - Customs officers strike in April 1994 is another example. Australian Customs Service and the Federal Government were the two parties involved in the dispute. Went to Federal level to try and solve dispute. The Australian Customs Service managed through their Trade Union, to gain many of their demands (9/10) within the 24 hours the officers striked for. A solution was reached to continue talks to discuss factor 10, which was the lay off's announced - Introduction of the recent Industrial Relations Reform Act, and recent laws providing greater equality for women in the workforce. The recent IR Reform act takes away most of unions legal powers, but keeps some of the old systems as a 'safety net' Reasion for decline in Trade Union membership: Since the 1980's Trade Union membership has declined for four main reasons: * Decline in manafacturing and public sectors, which is a traditional union area * Employment growth in Small Business, traditionally less-unionised * Growth in part-time and casual jobs, traditionally less-unionised * Increased participation of women, traditionally less-unionised Methods for determining wages: Centralized System: - Not worked out between management and employees, but on a national level - IRC determines national wage case of, (A) Base wage (B) Wage increases - Wage increases based (I) Productivity (II) Effeciency of particular industry Decentralized System: - Wage increases - Negociated between employees and management - Effects particular company only - Wages must be at award rate or higher eg. SPC Cannery Study Tips: - Know how the Industrial Relations System was established. - Who/What are the major parties? - Know how problems/grievances are solved! - Know if something is a Federal or State award!
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