What do workers want from industrial relations? Insights from Australia at Work

Brigid van Wanrooy, Shaun Wilson, Sean Scalmer

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterpeer-review


As votes in the 2007 federal election were counted, it became abundantly clear that Australians did not want Work Choices to be part of their future. Electorates with lower to middle-income families in the cities and regional Australia shifted strongly to Labor, helping the Opposition overturn a solid Coalition majority. The anti-Work Choices campaign, coordinated by the Australian Council of Trade Unions (ACTU) generated an unprecedented focus on what was undesirable or unfair about the new industrial relations system. The verdict on Work Choices was registered powerfully at election time. Voters did not want an industrial relations system perceived to be unfair to workers. But, the question remains: if Australians did not want Work Choices, what do they want for industrial relations? Do they want their work regulated, and if so, how? And, if we go further down the path of direct negotiations to settle wages and conditions, are workers satisfied with and trusting of the managers with whom these negotiations take place? This chapter draws on survey and interview data from the Australia at Work project, as well as other social survey results, to answer these questions.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationRemaking Australian industrial relations
EditorsJoellen Riley, Peter Sheldon
Place of PublicationSydney
PublisherCCH Australia
ISBN (Print)9781921485190
Publication statusPublished - 2008

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