The Implications of De-Collectivist Industrial Relations Laws and Associated Developments for Worker Health and Safety in Australia, 1996–2007

18 Pages Posted: 13 Oct 2009

See all articles by Michael G. Quinlan

Michael G. Quinlan

University of New South Wales (UNSW) - School of Organisation and Management

Richard Johnstone

Griffith University - Griffith Law School

Abstract

The institutional and regulatory interlinkages between industrial relations (IR) and occupational health and safety (OHS) are seldom explored in the IR literature. This article begins to address this gap by examining regulatory initiatives in Australia during a period of neoliberal government. It examines the laws enacted by the federal government during this period and events and cases arising from these laws that go some way to illustrating their effects. Evidence is also drawn from detailed research on a number of state OHS inspectorates between 2004 and 2006. It is argued that de-collectivist changes to IR laws exacerbated problems posed by the growth of flexible work arrangements and a drop in union density, weakening participatory provisions in OHS laws and promoting work arrangements that undermined OHS standards. The study provides evidence of the implications of a divergence in the trajectory of IR and OHS laws and the importance of better integrating worker protection laws.

Suggested Citation

Quinlan, Michael G. and Johnstone, Richard, The Implications of De-Collectivist Industrial Relations Laws and Associated Developments for Worker Health and Safety in Australia, 1996–2007. Industrial Relations Journal, Vol. 40, Issue 5, pp. 426-443, September 2009. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1486363 or http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/j.1468-2338.2009.00536.x

Michael G. Quinlan

University of New South Wales (UNSW) - School of Organisation and Management ( email )

Sydney, NSW 2052
Australia
61 2 93857149 (Phone)

Richard Johnstone

Griffith University - Griffith Law School ( email )

Nathan Campus, GU
Nathan 4111
Australia
07-3875-3645 (Phone)

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