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Assignment on Industrial relations in Australia

Number of Words : 2513

Number of References : 10


  Amendments made to Work choices Act 2005 under the Workplace Relations Amendment (Transition to Forward with Fairness) Act 2008
  Changes that are expected to take place when the proposed Fair Work Bill 2008 is passed into law
  Whether Fair Work Bill 2008 will improve or hinder relations between employers and employees.


The Australian Industrial Relations have gone through many changes in the past few decades. In Australia the most prominent paradigm was compulsory arbitration. Employers and employees never interacted much and there was always a third party to decide their working relationship. By looking at the following acts we can understand how the Australian Industrial Relations have evolved.<br />The Work Choices Act 2005 came into action as a part of Government’s industrial reform program, to provide more fairness in working relationships of the employers and employees. ‘The Australian Government (2005) posits that the reforms will generate a fairer balance of forces within the labour market and lead to higher employment, productivity and real wages.’( The Australian industrial relations were governed by it till the coming of Workplace Relations Amendment (Transition to Forward with Fairness) Act 2008. The following features will help us to understand the Work Choices Act 2005: -<br />• Introduction of Australian Workplace Agreements- these were individual agreements between the employers and employees stating terms and conditions of employment. It was maximum for five years and no industrial action could be taken against it.<br />• Birth of Australian Fair Pay Commission (AFPC) - The Australian Fair Pay Commission sets and adjusts the Federal Minimum Wage and classification wages in Pay Scales. It also had responsibility for Special Federal Minimum Wages for juniors, trainees, apprentices, and employees with a disability, and the wage loading for casual workers.<br />• Australian Industrial Relations Commission (AIRC) - Till 2005, it used to look after the various agreements, created awards etc. But with the coming of this act it lost its power to conduct National Wage cases. It continued to focus on dispute resolution and award modernization. It also established a register of private Alternative Dispute Resolution to offer choice between the AIRC’s dispute settling role and other dispute resolution specialists.<br />• Workplace authority and fairness test- this body accessed the workplace agreements. All the agreements had to go through the fairness test to ensure they provided fair and just compensation for the removal or modification of protected award conditions. Workplace authority also suggested employers whether their agreement would pass the fairness test.<br />• Trade union access to workplace was restricted. They could not visit the workplaces even if the workers were been exploited. Secret ballots were required for prolonged industrial actions. Employers could lock out their employees with three days notice.<br />

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