Work councils could be the future of Australian industrial democracy in an ABCC world

Analyses
    Eugene Schofield-Georgeson, University of Technology Sydney Work councils are one model of industrial relations that could potentially fill the enormous gap in Australian industrial democracy left by precarious employment and the decline of the union movement. Canberra was once again the scene of further blows against construction workers and their union when the federal government this week passed legislation to hasten the onset of laws linked to the Australian Building and Construction Commission (ABCC). In something of a one-two combination for the Australian union movement, the ABCC’s return accompanies reports that national union coverage has dwindled to its lowest ebb. Union membership now stands at around 15%. In Australia, the growth of casual jobs outstrips the creation of permanent jobs by nearly two to one. Such precarious employment…
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10th Anniversary Wheelwright Lecture: Manufacturing the Future: Cultures of Production for the Anthropocene    

10th Anniversary Wheelwright Lecture: Manufacturing the Future: Cultures of Production for the Anthropocene    

Events, Katherine Gibson
Invitation        About the lecture Debates about the future of manufacturing in Australia return to prominence every few years, prompted by the latest downturn in employment or closure of a plant. The overarching narrative of change is one of decline. Since the heyday of protectionism when 30% of the workforce was employed in manufacturing, today only 8% are employed in the sector and union membership has sunk to an all-time low of just over 12%. The prognosis of decline has intensified with recent plant closures in the foreign owned automotive industry and the shedding of 20 per cent of the manufacturing workforce between 2008 and 2015. Yet, there is strong popular support for maintaining and strengthening a manufacturing base in this country and, according to the promos for the 2017 National…
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