University of Tasmania
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Demarcation disputes in contemporary Australian industrial relations : their causes and methods of resolution

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posted on 2023-05-27, 13:53 authored by Tavender, P
The objective of this paper is to evaluate the causes of demarcation disputes between trade unions in contemporary Australia, and to analyse methods of resolution of such disputes. This topic is one which has had little attention in the academic or professional literature; in a large majority of cases where it has been mentioned, conflict over demarcation issues is treated as incidental to the major causes of industrial conflict and almost no more than an undesirable side effect of existing processes and structures. It will be shown however that although these disputes represent only a small proportion of working days lost through industrial conflict, the impact of such disputes upon the total economy is far greater than this statistical evidence would imply. Apart from a recent article by Wright there does not appear to have been any attempt to consider in detail this particular type of dispute especially in respect of possible causes, and how such disputes may be resolved. In considering the causes of demarcation disputes, an analysis of contemporary disputes reveals that they are usually brought about, and influenced by, a multitude of factors rather than one individual cause. While these factors are often closely inter-related, they may, for ease of analysis, be divided into 'four categories:- (a) structure of employee organisations (b) technological change (c) power structure (d) externalities, i.e. management With respect to the resolution of such disputes, a large percentage of conflict over demarcation matters are resolved by the parties themselves; such situations are only classified as disputes where some industrial action e.g. work limitations, takes place. When such conflict reaches the stage where the parties are unable or unwilling to achieve a resolution, then three basic approaches are used to assist in resolution:- (a) conciliation through the auspices of the 'peak' councils e.g. Australian Council of Trade Unions (ACTU); (b) conciliation and/or arbitration by industrial tribunals; (c) structural changes to employee organisations. Information for this paper has been derived from literature in respect of both the Australian and United Kingdom environment, decisions of industrial tribunals and interviews with trade union officials.


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Copyright 1982 the author - The University is continuing to endeavour to trace the copyright owner(s) and in the meantime this item has been reproduced here in good faith. We would be pleased to hear from the copyright owner(s). Thesis (M.Soc.Sc.)--University of Tasmania, 1983. Bibliography: leaves 40-41

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