Industrial relations, occupational safety and health, and union organising in Australia: lessons and opportunities
Abstract:This paper examines the intersection between recent changes in industrial relations legislation and union involvement in health and safety in Australia. Of specific interest is how unions prioritise occupational safety and health concerns against other workplace issues that often form the basis of union campaigns. During this examination, claims that unions can use health and safety as an organising tool are evaluated from data collected in interviews with union officials based in regional and metropolitan centres in Queensland, Australia. Our evidence supports the view that unions have much to gain by focusing on members' health and safety concerns, especially in an environment where union protections have been systematically weakened under industrial relations regulations. However, we also found that organising efforts around occupational safety and health remain isolated, with most unions continuing to focus on member interests within the realm of mainstream industrial relations.
Document Type: Research Article
Publication date: June 1, 2006
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- Policy and Practice in Health and Safety is an international journal published twice a year. It's designed as a forum for academic and policy discourse on health and safety and is aimed at those who practise, tutor, research or study health and safety regulation and management. All published papers have undergone a double-blind refereeing process by at least two referees.
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