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date: 23 January 2020

Abstract and Keywords

This chapter traces the way in which the management of workplace conflict has developed and currently operates in Australia. Industrial relations tribunals (dispute-resolution agencies) have been involved in settling workplace disputes since Federation in 1901 but unntil the 1980s the tribunals dealt mainly with collective disputes. Subsequently there has been change that has been labelled “labour-market deregulation,” but in effect amounted to re-regulation. This has brought about an emphasis on settling disputes at the workplace level, while increasing the scope of federal-level jurisdiction. There has been a growth in legislation protecting individual rights; declining union membership; declining collective industrial action; and an increase in individual disputes and other individual expressions of conflict. In addition to explaining these developments, the chapter discusses contemporary trends in the management of workplace conflict and the implications of the individualization of disputes for employers and tribunals.

Keywords: Australia, deregulation, individual disputes, collective disputes, individual rights, dispute-resolution agencies, union membership, industrial action

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