This thesis sets out to explore the wage structure of the Queensland State Public Service within the context of two major aspects of relative wage theory. It asks firstly what are the various features of the wage structure of the Service and how can these features be accounted for. Secondly, it deals with the question of the values underlying wage systems and, considers the nature of the wage/work relationship implied by the Queensland Public Service wage structure.
Although the thesis is quite general, a number of relevant hypotheses are suggested in the first chapter and these are returned to throughout so as to provide a basis of organisation for the study. These hypotheses are:-
1. that wage decisions affecting the Queensland Public Service derive from a number of views of the function of wage differentials and that this results in conflicts in the wage structure of the Service;
2. that the term “work value" is used in more than one way in Public Service salary decisions and statements;
3. that the wage system of the Queensland Public Service is geared to consider questions of equity and capacity to pay more than of efficiency and demand and supply; and
4. that the nature of government requires considerable modification to the competitive model of wage relationships.
After the theme of the study is outlined in Chapter One, the thesis moves on to consider theoretical areas in Chapters Two and Three Chapter Two deals particularly with the purposes of wage differentials and after dividing relative wage theories into allocational and distributional theories, it examines the values underlying each of these two groups. Among other things, the relationship between wage structure and worker motivation is discussed. No general conclusion is reached but for most of the rest of the thesis, the assumption is made that wage differentials do have considerable significance for worker motivation. Chapter Three examines a competitive model of relative wages and some of the criticisms of and alternatives to it. The following chapter deals with the likely results of poorly calculated wage differentials, including recruitment and retention problems and problems of worker morale.
Chapter Five outlines the current Public Service wage structure and suggests explanations of some of its features. Particular features of government salary structures are then considered, especially wage scales and overlapping salary ranges. An attempt is made to relate the length of wage scales in the Service to anticipated promotion rates. Although this has some explanatory power, many exceptions are found and a variety of alternative hypotheses are put forward.
Chapter Seven looks at the existing differentials within the structure. A number of propositions are made for example, that occupational differentials among professional positions are largely related to length of tertiary training; that education and skill are rewarded principally by promotion rather than by specific wage payments; that regional differentials have not been used to bring about desired regional balances of the Public Service work-force; and that age and sex differentials are more determined by custom than by any rational notion of the role of wage structure, The thesis then turns to the question of the' major determinants of changes in wage relationships and deals with the influence of factors such as inflation and technological change Among these factors is the nature of the wage determination process and the participants in it. This leads into Chapter Nine which has as its topic wage determination in the Service.
Chapters Ten and Eleven are concerned with special features of government employment and with principles of pay in public services. Questions such as the effect of the requirement that public services be impartial are covered^ Weaknesses are found in all of the widely accepted pay principles and in particular with the comparative wage justice and internal relativity principles of the Queensland Public Service.
Chapter Twelve attempts a synthesis of the disparate material covered in the thesis through a discussion of labour demand and supply in the Queensland Public Service. A modification of the competitive model is proposed to make allowances for the possibility of changing standards for recruitment and promotion. Other explanatory hypotheses are proposed and the need for a clearer understanding of their employment aims by the Queensland Public Service is stressed