Smothering the Right to Strike: Work Choices and Industrial Action
Australian Journal of Labour Law, Vol. 19, No. 2, pp. 198-209, 2006
16 Pages Posted: 2 Jan 2008
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: Suggested Citation
By John Howe