Smothering the Right to Strike: Work Choices and Industrial Action

Australian Journal of Labour Law, Vol. 19, No. 2, pp. 198-209, 2006

Sydney Law School Research Paper No. 08/03

16 Pages Posted: 2 Jan 2008  

Shae McCrystal

The University of Sydney Law School

Abstract

This article examines the recent changes to the federal legal regime that controls the taking of protected industrial action in Australia. It considers the impact of both the Building and Construction Industry Improvement Act 2005 (Cth) and the Workplace Relations Amendment (Work Choices) Act 2005 (Cth). The article provides an overview of the restrictions now faced by federal system employees and unions that wish to engage in protected industrial action. This includes the imposition of secret ballots, restrictions on the level and content of bargaining and the removal of the discretion of the Australian Industrial Relations Commission in decision making. The article concludes that the Work Choices changes represent the most fundamental attack on the right to strike in Australia since its introduction in 1993, smothering the ability of employees and trade unions to take strike action in support of free collective bargaining.

Keywords: Right to Strike, Work Choices, Secret Ballots, Protected Industrial Action, Sanctions

JEL Classification: K10, K31, J50,J51, J52, J53

Suggested Citation

McCrystal, Shae, Smothering the Right to Strike: Work Choices and Industrial Action. Australian Journal of Labour Law, Vol. 19, No. 2, pp. 198-209, 2006; Sydney Law School Research Paper No. 08/03. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1079885

Shae McCrystal (Contact Author)

The University of Sydney Law School ( email )

New Law Building, F10
The University of Sydney
Sydney, NSW 2006
Australia

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