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  Issue No 62 Official Organ of LaborNet 14 July 2000  




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Trades Hall

Neale Towart's Labour Review

Another run-down of the wierd and wonderful from the bustling cul-de-sac that is the world of industrial relations, from our Answers Man.

Wage Trends

The latest ADAM Report from CCH/ACIRRT shows the average annual wage increase for enterprise agreements registered in the March 2000 quarter to be 4%, up from 3.8% in the December 1999 quarter.

Wage outcomes were at their peak in 1996 (rises of 6.5%), and have dropped by 40% since then.

Public sector rises were at 3.5% while private sector were at 4.1%.

Non-union agreements were at 3.8% and union agreements at 4.1%

Wage Dispersion

Differences in wage outcomes within and between industries show the largest divergence. For example in mining and construction the highest annual wage increase was 11% and the lowest 0.7%.

In food, beverage and tobacco manufacturing the highest increase was 7.7%, the lowest 0.7%

In recreational and personal services the highest was 14%, the lowest 0.5%


ACIRRT holds information on the AWAs of 593 of the 2026 employers with AWAs.

Wage outcomes for AWAs shoed an average annual increase of 2.9% compared to the average for union based collective agreements of 4%.

Over half of all AWAs did not provide for any wage increase during the life of the agreement compared to 86.6% of union agreements.

(ADAM Report no. 25, June 2000)

Employee Participation

Recently registered enterprise agreements have contained clauses increasing the role of employees in decision making. These clauses include an agreement in the education sector that contains a commitment to participatory democracy, small group decision-making and site-based decisions.

Also a public sector agreement affirms and strengthens the role of workplace representatives, with specific time each month for meetings, a role in rehabilitation programs and time each week for rehabilitation meetings and urgent meetings with employees.

Family Friendly Provisions

These are still relatively uncommon, despite much lip service being paid to the concept.

Breastfeeding: Recently in the public sector breastfeeding provisions have been introduced (flexibility of hours) and also an hours paid leave per day for expressing milk.

Child Rearing Leave: Another public sector agreement includes child-rearing leave to cater for parents of young children. It is on top of maternity, paternity or adoption leave and is available to parents with pre school aged children. It is leave without pay and is available for a maximum of 52 weeks. 10 weeks notice is required

Antenatal leave: access to paid leave to attend antenatal medical checks.

Care rooms: A commitment by a public sector organization to provide care rooms for employees to access child and dependent care services.

(ADAM Report, no. 25, June 2000)

Ban on Union Badges Harsh and Oppressive

The Full Bench of the West Australian Industrial Relations Commission has held that the Burswood Resort's ban on wearing union badges was an industrially unfair infringement on the proper ability of union members to express their membership in the workplace, promote their organization and their interests as members of that organization. The badges did not have any noticeable effect on the grooming and dress of the employees.

Australian Liquor Hospitality and Miscellaneous Workers Union, Miscellaneous Workers Division WA Branch v Burswood Resort, FB of WAIRC (FBA 30 of 1999) 15/3/00

(Employment Law Update; newsletter 156, 16 June 2000)

Violence in the Workplace - an employer's responsibilities and rights

Robbie Walker

Employers are becoming increasingly concerned about their responsibilities and rights in relation to workplace violence. This article discusses the liability which may be imposed on employers for workplace violence by common law and statute. Also the limits placed by unfair dismissal legislation on an employer's ability to take action against an employee who has been involved in workplace violence.

(Employment Law Bulletin; issue 12, June 2000)

Koala Attacks and Knowledge Management

An experienced ranger in a koala park knows the animals well and thus can easily identify suitable koalas for visitors to touch, and avoid the crankier ones. A less experienced ranger might get the wrong ones, to the detriment of the visitor and the Park business. There was no formal training the experienced rangers resume, the ranger just "knew".

Dr Kate Andrews spoke at the recent Australian Human Resources Institute National Convention about the role for human resources in knowledge management issues. Dr Andrews defined knowledge management as the process by which an organization generates wealth, or achieves public good, from its intellectual knowledge-based assets. These include knowledge, expertise, creativity, innovation and skills. A summary of Dr Andrews' paper is presented in the Human resources update.

(Human Resources Update; no. 241, 23 June 2000)

Trade Union Mergers: A survey of the literature

Grant Michelson

Aims to highlight important themes that have shaped union mergers in Australia since the 1980s. These include merger forms, merger motivations, role played by union officers and merger 'waves'. The author contends that internal and external factors need to be analysed to understand why and how unions undertake such structural change. The consequences of mergers on members and union performance are explored.

(Australian Bulletin of Labour; vol. 26, no. 2, June 2000)

Trade Union Regulation and the Accountability of Union Office-holders: examining the corporate model.

Anthony Forsyth

There is a substantial body of federal law imposing standards of accountability on unions, and regulating the conduct of officials. The federal government has proposed that new accountability measures borrowed from corporations law be imposed on unions. These proposals are examined by Forsyth, focussing on those that would fix union officials with fiduciary and other duties similar to those applying to company directors. He concludes that the many differences between unions and companies - the reasons they exist, the purposes they serve, the interests created in their members and the role and functions of their managers - are such that the imposition of a corporate model of regulation of unions is inherently flawed.

(Australian Journal of Labour Law; vol. 13, no. 1, June 2000)

Home-based Work

Many see home-based work as a growth area, but this article shows that many jobs just don't allow work from home, as the work flow and face to face time are needed. Many issues need to be clear between employers and employees. It is suggested that employers allow employees to initiate the move, and the main group able to work from home are professionals with a fair degree of day to day autonomy. The types of work that seem to fit with work from home include journalism, editing, research, web design, telemarketers, graphic designers, stockbrokers and programmers.

It is suggested however, that with a recent case finding favour of an employee who claimed unlawful discrimination because her employer would not allow part time employment on here return from adoption leave, it may be only a matter of time before employers are faced with similar claims for not allowing work from home.

(Workplace Change; issue 51, June 2000)


*   Got a query? Ask Neale!

*   View entire issue - print all of the articles!

*   Issue 62 contents

In this issue
*  Interview: Fair Trader
AMWU boss Doug Cameron is gearing for a showdown with the ALP over their free trade agenda. But what's he really on about?
*  Politics: Free Trader
Trade Minister Peter Cook states his case for coninuting trade liberalisation and why the 'fair trade' agenda is against the interests of Australian workers.
*  History: Organising - Fifties Style
What do the new wave of organisers do? Pretty much the same hard slog that Audrey Petrie did in the 1950s around Sydney for the Hotel, Club and Restaurant Union (HCRU).
*  Unions: The Whistleblower
A lone Chinese seafarer is fighting to stop a Panamanian flagged vessel from dumping toxic waste into Australian waters
*  International: Jakarta Breakthrough
Indonesian workers have just won a new historic bill of rights which gaurantees them legal protections when they form unions.
*  Solidarity: Rio Versus the Rest of the World
Union members around the world have taken part in a week of international action against the mining giant Rio Tinto. Andrew Casey looks at all the hot spots.
*  Satire: Amnesty Branch Targets Lazy Letter Writer
Police are investigating claims that the Glebe branch of Amnesty International has captured and tortured a member whose tardiness in letter writing had become renowned.
*  Review: Little by Little
Clinton Walker's groundbreaking book, CD and video charts the careers of indigenous artists like the legendary Jimmy Little.

»  Hotel Workers Get Serious on Olympic Pay
»  Global Rio Tinto Campaign Bites
»  Nike Faces Olympics Shame
»  Cameron Calls for 'Social Audit'
»  Orange Rally Softens Email Job Losses
»  No Joy in the Chase
»  Reith Scheme Short Changes Workers
»  World Banks' PNG Edict: Six Thousand Bucks per Job!
»  New Wages Scam - Sink Company to Avoid Pay
»  Shaw Returns to Bar Room Life
»  Newman! Minister Dumps on Staff for GST
»  Taxi Drivers Win GST Justice
»  Unchain Your Mind
»  ACTU Womens' Conference

»  The Soapbox
»  The Locker Room
»  Trades Hall
»  Tool Shed

Letters to the editor
»  Political Hackers and the Law
»  Still a Role for Tariffs
»  Fair Trade - Australia Would be Hit Too!
»  Mexican Greens - A Different Analysis
»  Korean unrest - All the Latest Here

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