[Documents menu] Documents menu

Date: Wed, 28 Aug 1996 11:30:37 -0500
From: L-Soft list server at MIZZOU1 (1.8b) <LISTSERV@MIZZOU1.missouri.edu>

--> Database ACTIV-L, 8413 hits.

> print 08355
>>> Item number 8355, dated 96/08/26 23:23:49 -- ALL
Date: Mon, 26 Aug 1996 23:23:49 GMT
Sender: Activists Mailing List <ACTIV-L@MIZZOU1.MISSOURI.EDU>
From: Rich Winkel <rich@pencil.math.missouri.edu>
Organization: PACH
Subject: Aussie Strikes Continue

/** labr.global: 334.0 **/
** Topic: Aussie Strikes Continue **
** Written 12:34 AM Aug 23, 1996 by labornews in cdp:labr.global **
From: Institute for Global Communications <labornews@igc.apc.org>

Industrial strife flares after federal election

By Joanne Painter, IGC LaborNews, 20 August 1996

Industrial disputes nationwide have soared since the Howard Government was elected, according to Australian Bureau of Statistics figures released yesterday. The number of working days lost to disputes jumped 139 per cent from April to May. More days were lost in May than in any month since November 1992.

In the Government's first three months, 320,000 working days were lost to industrial disputes, four times more than in the previous three months and almost double the number for the same period last year. And while the average number of strikes each month was relatively stable, the number of workers taking part in industrial action increased dramatically.

The sharp rise in disputes raised fears of a sustained period of industrial conflict, and brought warnings that Australia's trading reputation could be damaged. The joint national secretary of the Maritime Union of Australia, Mr Tony Papaconstuntinos, said the industrial climate would deteriorate under the Federal Government.

The strike action we have experienced will almost certainly increase because workers in this country are very serious about retaining their dignity, their standard of living, their awards and the Industrial Relations Commission, as a minimum, Mr Papaconstuntinos said.

In its short period in office, the Howard Government has alienated itself from the churches, community organisations, the Aboriginal community, unions and the education sector, he said.

It took the Labor Party 13 years to achieve what your John Howard has done in a couple of months. The director of labor relations with the Australian Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Mr Reg Hamilton, said the deteriorating industrial climate had damaged Australia's trading reputation and undermined its jobs growth.

But the assistant director of the Business Council of Australia, Mr Vernon Winley, said the May statistics for industrial disputes reflected a short-term reaction to the election of a new Government and underscored the urgent need for reform of industrial relations.

Australia lost 164,000 working days to industrial action in May, up from 69,000 in April, the report said. The number of workers who took industrial action increased sharply from 74,000 in April to more than 185,000 in May. Annual figures reflected a similar upward trend. Almost 500,000 workers took industrial action in the year to May, up from 335,000 the previous year and 348,000 in the year to May 1994.

Managerial decisions were easily the biggest cause of disputes, followed by conditions, wages and trade union issues. The construction industry reported the most working days lost (96,900), closely followed by education, health and community services.

The coal mining industry also recorded significant levels of industrial action in the first months of the year. New South Wales, Victoria and Queensland had the highest levels of industrial action.

Australia's worsening industrial climate: The May 1996 snapshot

139 per cent increase in number of working days lost to industrial disputes between April and May. Most working days lost in the construction industry. 185,000 workers take part in May industrial action, up from 74,000 in April. Main causes of disputes: managerial decisions, working conditions, wages and trade union issues. Industrial disputes highest in New South Wales, Victoria and Queensland.