This research paper investigates the past and present industrial relations process in Australia. Particular reference is made to the major roles played by governments, unions and employers, and the effects changing economic climates have on the strategies adopted by all parties.
An analysis of the historical development of the industrial relations system highlights the growth of the union movement, and their concerted push for the establishment and maintenance of a reasonable standard of living for their members. It also demonstrates the resistance by employer groups to these demands and the power tribunals and governments possess in the industrial relations process.
A study of the development of a number of key industrial relations issues will demonstrate their relationship with economic and social policy in this country. This analysis will be undertaken through a description of both historical and present development of these issues, culminating in a proposal for their future direction.
In addition to the historical description and analysis of the proposed key industrial relations issues, the results of a questionnaire asked to a number of persons in the field of industrial relations is included. The opinions expressed by these persons, though personal, does provide an insight into past, present and future developments in industrial relations.
It is envisaged that this research paper will provide assistance to both the manager with limited industrial relations knowledge and students of this discipline. This research should also highlight the need for continuing investigation into the area and to provide improved information on the effects of poor industrial relations practices within industry.