This paper examines industrial relations involving clerical and administrative employees in the Australian Public Service from 1975 onwards. It looks specifically at the impact on management, the employees, their unions and the government.
Where necessary events prior to 1975 and/or other workers and unions are referred to.
Information was gathered by way of a literature review, an examination of relevant legislation, publications of the unions concerned, publications of too Public Service Board and newspapers.
The paper deals with five major areas.
The first part looks at the setting in which these relations are conducted, the parties involved, and factors which affect the way in which they are conducted.
The second briefly outlines the framework and important events relating to central government employees in the United Kingdom for roughly the same period. The United Kingdom was selected because it is a western style democracy and is facing or has faced similar economic problems to Australia. Additionally similar actions have been resorted to by the governments of both countries.
The third explores the recent history of relations between the parties, with particular interest in significant events and actions by the parties.
Over the period covered by the paper new technology has been introduced into the Australian Public Service and into the white collar field generally. There has been an associated increase in the militancy of white collar workers. The fourth area of the paper looks a t these developments.
The final part examines to impact of events on departmental management, the employees, the unions and government. The major interest is the rise in the level of industrial action by clerical and administrative employees in the Australian Public Service. Much of the industrial action during the period occurred by way of reaction to legislative and other actions by the government.
Many actions by the government seem to have been taken as a result of decisions based on political and not managerial criteria.