This research report investigates the effectiveness of the award restructuring process taking place since the introduction of new wage fixing principles, commencing with the second tier of wage increases which were dependent on efficiency and restructuring negotiations in the March 1987 National Wage Case. Since then, there have been a number of Commission decisions, Federal and State, which have emphasised or required the development of improved productivity in order to achieve wage increases. Through encouraging efficiency and productivity, these decisions have represented a major change in the direction and emphasis of wage setting in Australia. This process can be compared with other experiences of productivity bargaining, in Australia in the early 1980s and in Britain.
The complex process of introducing efficiency and productivity improvement has been both encouraged and hindered by forces from within, and external to, the organisations of Australian industry. Severe economic pressures along with the development of the Accords and the entrenched internal environments of some organisations have all added to the complexity of the process development.
Success in restructuring requires that organisations and industries can identify the key factors, specific to their organisations which will achieve the required organisational change. The report investigates the effects of factors such as the industrial relations system, Government policy, unions and the structure of unions in Australia, employer organisations and organisational structure, style and culture.
How effective these factors have been influencing the desired results of award restructuring has been investigated in a number of recent reports. These are studied along with the results of a small survey conducted of Queensland organisations to identify the effectiveness of award restructuring in improving productivity.