This paper will talk about the employment relations from two perspectives, a unitatist perspective and a pluralist perspective, and then make an analysis of the Australian Waterfront Dispute 1997-1998 from these two perspectives. In order to make clear the changes of the stevedoring industry in Australia, one has to understand the disputes occurred between 1997 and 1998. These disputes were not simple because they demonstrated the employment relations in the industry or even the whole economy (Trinca and Davies, 2000).
Thus, what is the Australian Waterfront Dispute 1997-1998? And how it happens and changes? About these two questions, the paper will give a clear outline on ...view middle of the document...
The appearance of these two organizations leaked out the defects of the industry. The reason of disputes is the impartiality of power and the unequal employment relations. MAU is a kind of collective cooperation which always makes reactions to the low pay, poor conditions and dangerous (Wiseman, 1998). It is a system focusing on daily work of employees and taking the control of the whole waterfront business. But such kind of organization can still achieve a fairly equal competitive position for workers. However, the organization has not escaped from the hands of the Communist Party of Australia which resists changes with a rigid attitude. As a result, this economic organization was elapsed into the political conflicts. After that, some want to save the whole industry by monopoly. Indeed, this kind of idea has some effects on the industrial development. Two dominate stevedoring companies achieved a reward to control the waterfront and the MAU became the sole representative of the workers in Australia.
However, it is not lasting because the so-called secret contract with a foreign country was leaked out and the public and related departments began to voice and oppose to the organization. As the disputes between MAU and Patrick continue, there comes a strategy holding that the behaviors of the MAU has worked against the Workplace Relations Act 1996, a law against monopoly( (Sheridan, 1998). As the voice of the public prompts, the strategy begins to show its advantages.
According to the Briefing Paper of the Australian Cabinet, the key to the success of the strategy is to take overall control of the national ports as fast as possible and then set up a pattern for the national growing movements (Australian Cabinet Briefing Paper, 1997). It is until the collapses of the workers’ strike that the strategy becomes low-lighted and the Australian government begins to be aware that there must be changes in the employment relations of the stevedoring industry. Therefore, it comes up with several supportive actions which include: (1) providing strategic advices; (2) providing legal assistance and medical care services; (3) employing capable worker and accommodating them; (4) be responsible for the public expenditures. These actions have played certain role in improving the employment relations of the industry, but it has not changed the nature of the contemporary formation of the employment relations.
The MAU and Patrick are elapsed into the court affairs. They make great efforts to benefit themselves and the courts spend a long time to process the affair. The reason why the two parties have become contrary parties from partners is that they want to safeguard their own benefits without complying with each other. But unfortunately, the Patrick company lost in the affair, as a result, the MUA controls the whole industry and wins the representative right of the stevedoring industry (Wiseman, 1998). The verdict of the High Court is to reach an agreement...