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Restructuring the Architecture of State Regulation in the Australian and Aotearoa/New Zealand Cleaning Industries and the Growth of Precarious Employment

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This paper examines changes in the commercial cleaning industry in Australasia which are occurring against a backdrop of significant transformation in the mode of labour market regulation in both countries. Specifically, whereas for most of the twentieth century both Aotearoa/New Zealand and Australia had systems of labour market regulation in which the state provided minimum wage and work protections through the interventions of arbitration courts, in the past few years these courts have either been abolished (in the case of New Zealand) or severely restricted in their ambit (in the case of Australia), all as part of a neoliberal effort to introduce “flexibility” into labour markets. The result has been an erosion of wages and a worsening of conditions of employment for cleaners and many other groups of workers. At the same time, this transformation in the architecture of labour market regulation poses significant challenges to unions seeking to represent cleaners and other low‐paid service sector workers.
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Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: 1: School of Management, Curtin University of Technology, Perth, WA, Australia;, Email: [email protected] 2: Department of Geography, University of Georgia, Athens, GA, USA;, Email: [email protected]

Publication date: 2006-06-01

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