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Industrial Relations Reform: Social and Economic Dimensions. Barbara Pocock Brotherhood of St Lawrence Conference, Tuesday 11th October 2005 University of Melbourne. The Howard Industrial Plan: A 20 year old vision, unfit for a 21st Century working family: Anti-family and unfair.

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industrial relations reform social and economic dimensions

Industrial Relations Reform: Social and Economic Dimensions

Barbara Pocock

Brotherhood of St Lawrence Conference, Tuesday 11th October 2005 University of Melbourne

The Howard Industrial Plan:A 20 year old vision, unfit for a 21st Century working family: Anti-family and unfair
the measures a weaker safety net
The measures: a weaker safety net

minimum pay rate and classifications

4 weeks Annual leave

10 days Personal/carer’s leave

12 months Parental leave

38 ordinary hours, annual average

AWAs override agreements and awards

The Case of Billy/Bettina

the measures tilts bargaining
The measures: Tilts bargaining
  • ‘Fair pay Commission’
  • weak unfair dismissal protections
  • More anti-collective than US law
  • AIRC neutered
airc and work family
AIRC and work/family
  • Maternity leave (1979)
  • Adoption leave (1984)
  • Parental leave (1990)
  • Carers’ leave (1994/95)
  • Right to refuse unreasonable overtime (2001)
  • Right to request part-time employment (2005)

All opposed by coalition and employers

How will any new advances be made?

overall impact
Overall Impact…
  • Low paid workers will be lower paid
    • $44 lower if government had had its way since 1996 AWAs on ‘take it or leave it’ basis for new employees or on promotion etc
  • Collective agreements and awards irrelevant over time
  • Union access to workers more limited and difficult
  • (eg 24 hours written notice and reason, only once every 6 months for recruitment, no entry if covered by AWAs, individual worker who seeks help from union will be identified to boss, no chance to check non-members paid correctly, complex ballots for industrial action)
  • Widening wages dispersion
  • Same workers, different rates
  • Tougher for the weaker
      • young people
      • people returning to work
      • casuals
      • working carers
      • immigrants
  • Profit not productivity
  • Even good bosses are forced to compete on cut price wages and conditions
impact on workers and families
Impact on workers and families?
  • Shift to AWAs, and stripped back awards will increase:
      • hours of work
      • unsocial working time
      • wage inequality
      • the working poor
the evidence awas and pay
The evidence: AWAs and pay
  • Pay levels and pay rises are lower for workers on AWAs (Peetz 2005)
  • Even though workers on AWAs, work longer hours
  • And have less access to penalty rates for unsocial hours and overtime
  • AWAs much more likely to reduce or abolish pay for working overtime, nights or weekends
awas and pay
AWAs and pay
  • women on AWAs paid 11% less than women on collective agreements in May 2004
  • Casuals on AWAs lower by 15%,
  • Permanent part-timers by 25%.
  • These are all groups with disproportionate responsibilities for families
awas less family friendly
AWAs: less family friendly
  • In 2001 12% of all AWAs had any work/family measures
  • 2004 DEWR report:
    • only 8% of AWAs had paid maternity leave (10% collective agreements)
    • 5% had paid paternity leave (7%)
    • 4% unpaid purchased leave
  • Those who need it most, get it least:
    • 14% more men than women on AWAs had any family leave in their AWA
awas will see more control of time by employers
AWAs will see more control of time by employers
  • 54% of AWAs do not provide penalty rates
  • 41% don’t provide annual leave loading
  • 41% don’t provide allowances
  • 34% don’t provide paid annual leave
  • 28% don’t provide paid sick leave
  • 25% don’t pay extra for overtime
unsocial time and families
Unsocial time and families
  • 64% of Australian employees already work either sometimes or regularly outside standard times
  • ‘Consistent body of international evidence’ finds that unsocial work time affects social and family time (Strazdins et al, 2004)
  • Evening and night work is especially stressful for parents, increasing depression, affecting sleep and reducing parental responsiveness to children
  • Positive associations between shift work and marital discord and divorce
night work and family
Night work and family
  • Night work combined with parenting is most harmful for marital stability (Presser 2000; US study)
  • Night working parents have two to six times the risk of divorce compared to those working standard daytime hours
  • Transmission effects to children
unsocial hours and care
Unsocial hours and care
  • All kinds of unsocial routines (weekend, afternoon, evening and night) can disrupt families and reduce parent-child time
  • Such parents spend less time reading, playing and helping children and are less satisfied with the time available with children
  • Many parents compensate by taking less time for themselves
new research effects on children
New research: effects on children
  • Recent analysis of Canadian data by Strazdins et al (2004) shows that children of parents who work non-standard hours are more likely to have emotional or behavioural difficulties
  • Independent of socio-economic status and childcare use
  • Other kinds of disadvantage can compound this effect
long hours of work
Long hours of work
  • International research about health & long hours (Spurgeon, 2003)
    • Increases risk of mental health problems
    • Increases risk of cardiovascular disease
    • Adverse effects on family relationships
  • Inequality amongst wage earners has increased in recent years
  • A growing body of international research suggesting that inequality is bad for societies and families (Wilkinson 2005)
  • More unequal societies: violence, poorer community relations and worse health.
a family unfriendly unfair agenda
A family unfriendly, unfair agenda
  • With very negative consequences for the low paid,young and disadvantaged
  • Will create more pressures in many families
    • for children and other dependents
    • for relationships
  • Long lived social consequences for inequality and unfairness