Essays on Industrial Relations, Decline in Strike Activity Coursework

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The paper "Industrial Relations, Decline in Strike Activity" is a perfect example of business coursework.   The fundamental strategy available to workers and their respective organization to promote and protect the economic and social interests is through the right to strike. It champions the right to have better working conditions, pursue collective occupational demands and seek solutions concerning economic, labour and social policy problems. Strikes and other forms of industrial action have been involved in resolving deadlocks in collective bargaining between the employees and employers (Van der Velden, Dribbusch, Lyddon and Vandaele, 2007).

Workers and trade unions are at liberty to collectively bargain with the right to strike on wages and conditions, industry development decisions and management prerogative decisions. Industrial actions are destined to protect and advocate for the occupational, economic and social interest of the workers in any organization. Industrial relations are involved in the theory and practice that is related to the management and regulation of the employment relationship (Briggs, 2004) The Workplace Relations Act (1996) objective was to weaken the position of the union negotiation through the encouragement of direct negotiations with the employees.

For instance, strike action was not allowed especially when negotiating non-union agreements. The conditions of enterprise bargaining agreements prohibited employees taking advantage of cyclical improvements in economic conditions especially in wage claims. The disputes are settled under the Fair Work Act with the employer giving an obligation to bargain under good faith bargaining arrangements. Under the Building and Construction Industry Improvement Act (2005,) outlawed the right to strike of both construction and building workers. Under the former Workplace Relations Act (1996) and the Trade Practices Act (1974), organizing strike action legally was dangerous (Forsyth, 2007). The major characteristic of Work Choices industrial relations regime was the government mechanism to legally suppress the strikes.

The new Work Choices industrial relations arrangement involved the following; pattern bargaining strikes were made unlawful, the minister has new unprecedented power to stop strikes and the strikes to be outlawed at the life of the agreement. It curtailed any industrial actions at the state made a shift to stronger corporate bargaining rather than collective union position. Furthermore, the change in roles of settling a dispute by the Australian Industrial Relations commissions (AIRC) made the union collective bargaining underrated (Forsyth, 2007).

Workers who are involved in industrial action are liable to be ordered to return to work, fined or dismissed from the workplace by the management team. The apparent changes in the Work Choices raised the employers’ powers and protection of the third party whereas declining the right to strike for those employees participating in collective bargaining. Strikes action is prohibited in the event of collective agreement better known as the peace obligation. The neo-liberal institutional reforms have made the antipodean industrials relations such as the labour conflict, thus resulting in the drastic fall in strikes.

A more diverse employment landscape is created by the advent of new forms of employment management such as human resources management, declined trade union power, greater individualization and flexibility in labour management (Bukarica, 2007). Under the unitarist perspective of employment relations, trade unions are viewed as either unnecessary or illegitimate. The management team has the freedom to operate in accordance with the state of the market. The shift from a manufacturing to a serviced based economy has eroded the trade union activity and membership (Hodgkinson, 2004).


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Forsyth, A., 2007. Dispute resolution under Work Choices: The first year. Labour and industry: a Journal of the Social and Economic Relations of Work, 18 (1).

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Romeyn, J., 2008.Striking a balance: The need for further reform of the law relating to industrial action, Australian Parliamentary Library

Van der Velden, S., Dribbusch, H., Lyddon, D. and Vandaele, K., 2007. Strikes around the world, 1968-2005: case-studies of 15 countries, Aksant: Amsterdam.

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