Special Issue:
A Selection of Papers from the 2002 Conference of the Association of Industrial Relations Academics of Australia and New Zealand 


Volume 27   Number 1 February  2002 


A Note from the Editors

It is with great pleasure that we present this special issue of the New Zealand Journal of Industrial Relations.  It further celebrates the highly successful 2002 Conference of the Association of Industrial Relations Academics of Australia and New Zealand (AIRAANZ) held in Queenstown, New Zealand in early February. 

The Conference, AIRAANZ's sixteenth, brought together over 100 industrial and employment relations scholars, predominantly from Australia and New Zealand, but also from as far away as Britain, the Netherlands, Canada, Hong Kong and the Philippines.

We have gathered here a selection of papers adapted by the authors from what we, the Editors of the NZJIR, believe to have been the best papers presented at the Conference.  We congratulate each of the authors on their selection for this special issue.

The keynote speaker for the Conference was the New Zealand Minister of Women's Affairs and Associate Minister of Labour, the Honourable Laila Harré.  Her address was enthusiastically received by the Conference, and we are pleased to reproduce it here as a part of this special issue.

The full proceedings of the Queenstown conference can be viewed at the AIRAANZ website at http://www.mngt.waikato.ac.nz/depts/sml/airaanz/airaanz.htm.   A limited number of hard copies of the full proceedings are available through the NZJIR Editors.

Details of the upcoming 17th AIRAANZ Conference (Melbourne, February 2003) and 18th AIRAANZ Conference (Brisbane, February 2004) will also be posted on the website in due course.

Ian McAndrew & Alan Geare
Editors

 
Keynote Speech to the 16th Conference of the Association of Industrial Relations Academics of Australia and NZ
Hon Laila Harré
Minister of Women's Affairs
Associate Minister of Labour

The theme of the Minister's presentation was taken from the following quote:

 Work, Family and Democracy

"If you insist on looking for a symbol for the twentieth century, I would suggest a mother with her children.  The people who have most in common are mothers, wherever they live on the face of the earth, and in spite of their different cultures, civilisations and languages.  In some ways a mother's experience reflects what has happened to a large part of humanity in the twentieth century. "

Eric Hobsbawm, The New Century
 

Managerialism and the Australian Public Service: Valuing Efficiency and Equity?
Eve Anderson, Gerry Griffin, Julian Teicher
The New Public Management (NPM) is the label applied to a literature which posits the need to recast the management of public bureaucracies on the lines of business enterprises.  This approach has been adopted in the Australian Public Service (APS).  While the roots of reform can be traced back to the 1975 Report of the Royal Commission on Australian Government Administration (RCAGA), the reform process has accelerated since the election of a Liberal-National Party government in 1996.  This paper sets out the key principles of NPM and the predicted implications for the employment relationship.  It then examines the APS reform process and employment outcomes.  We conclude on the available but limited evidence that there are significant centralist deviations from the NPM model and that in the more recent period of reform increasing emphasis has been placed on efficiency at the expense of equity.

 

"You Dirty Bastards, Are You Fair Dinkum?" Police and Union Confrontation on the Wharf
David Baker

The policing of overt manifestations of industrial disorder such as police protection of strikebreakers is precarious, unpredictable and volatile for both police and strikers, especially if there is a lack of negotiation and protocol.  The fatal shooting of a stevedore at Port Melbourne in November 1928 highlighted the dangers of confrontation between incensed workers and armed police.  The case-study of the policing of the 1928 maritime dispute at Port Melbourne reveals a police hierarchy distant from working-class people and a Melburnian establishment supportive of any police actions against perceived union excesses that challenged "free labour" on the wharves.  The powerful proponents of the maintenance of law and order - the Nationalist Government, Chief Commissioner Blamey and the daily newspapers - emphatically and successfully rejected all calls for an inquiry into the police shootings at Prince's Pier.


Management Strategies and Outcomes of Non-union Employee Representation at Eurotunnel
Paul J. Gollan

Existing research in the United Kingdom (UK) has provided little insight into how non-union employee representation (NER) structures are composed, the degree of independence from management, and their "representativeness" and accountability (Gollan, 1999; Gollan, 2000; Terry 1997; Terry 1999).  In addition, little is known about the impact of such structures on either the managerial objective of securing agreement to organisational change or the employee objective of influencing managerial decisions.  This research will attempt to throw some light on these issues by focusing on NER structures in the UK and, in particular, assessing their effectiveness in representing the needs of employees through an examination of representative arrangements at Eurotunnel.

Overall, the findings at Eurotunnel that NER structures are used as mechanisms for consultation and communication rather than as bargaining agents.  While it can be argued that consultation, not bargaining, may indeed be their objective, it nevertheless questions the legitimacy of such structures as true alternatives to unions.  As the Eurotunnel example has indicated, while NER structures can be used as devices for more effective means of communication and consultation, their effectiveness as bodies representing the wider interests of employees is questionable.
 

Re-regulation and Union Decline in New Zealand: Likely Effects
Raymond Harbridge, Pat Walsh and David Wilkinson
Unions have declined significantly in New Zealand over the last decade, losing around 50 percent of their members, with union density falling to around 1seven percent of the workforce.  The collapse of multi-employer bargaining was a key explanator of the decline, together with a substantial increase in the level of free-riding.  This paper reviews the relationship between employment levels, collective bargaining coverage, union membership levels and free-riding.  Sectoral employment change, union concentration within industries, and union size were all important determinants of union success.  Unions that had success with collective bargaining were also successful with recruiting members.  The most successful unions will be those that achieve industry wide multi-employer agreements.  A Labour/Alliance Government has introduced some re-regulation of labour relations.  The authors conclude that while the re-legitimization of unions, together with the reinstatement of institutional protection of collective bargaining, may contribute to some reversal in the rate of decline, it is unlikely to lead to any major reversal of the decline experienced over the last decade.


The Reform of Production Systems and Employment Relations in the Korean Auto Industry: The Experience of Kia Motors in the 1990s
Russell D. Lansbury, Byoung-Hoon Lee and Seoghun Woo

The recent merger and reconfiguration of Kia Motors and the Hyundai Motor Company has created the opportunity for this new grouping to become the fifth largest global auto group within the coming decade.  However, the previously rapid development of the Korean auto industry was based on a combination of mass production and the suppression of free trade unions.  Although there have been significant labour law reforms since the "democratisation" of Korea in 1987, the Korean auto industry has continued to rely on mass production and a labour-exclusive shopfloor regime.  The economic crisis of the late 1990s had a severe impact on the auto sector and witnessed the collapse of a number of auto companies.  The merger of Kia and Hyundai offers new hope for the industry but the failure of Kia highlights the need for on going reforms of both the production system and employment relations.


Towards "Relationship Management": Organisational and Workforce Restructuring at the Telecom Corporation of New Zealand (TCNZ)
Peter K. Ross

This paper examines the former wholly government owned telecommunication company (TelCo), the Telecom Corporation of New Zealand (TCNZ), that was privatised in 1989 and induced to compete in a deregulated operating environment as the New Zealand government moved to open up its telecommunications' sector to competition.  In broad terms this paper examines the organisational and workforce restructuring strategies that TCNZ undertook during this period and how these strategies affected its employment relations (ER) policies.  It seeks to use transaction costs economics (TCE) and strategic alliance concepts to assist in explaining why the firm undertook these strategies. The analysis of TCNZ focuses on the period from 1990 to 2000, during which time much of the organisational restructuring and workforce reorganisation occurred.

 

Employee Relations Consequences of Ownership and Structural Changes in the UK Brewing and Public House Retailing Sectors
Gordon Steven, Valerie Steven and David Preece

This paper looks first at the sweeping changes that have taken place in the beer and pub retailing sectors over the last ten years.  This has involved major restructuring and ownership changes after a series of mergers and acquisitions, connected to innovatory activity regarding the way in which pubs are valued, and presented to the public.  These new approaches to valuing pubs and entering the market are explained.  The paper, based on over 120 interviews over a three month period, then examines the impact these changes have had on the people involved and their responses.  In particular, it considers the effect on senior managers, pub managers and bar staff in two public house retailing companies following a major acquisition by a foreign-owned financial services sector company.

 

Basic Income: A Review of the Issues
Martin Watts

An unconditional Basic Income (BI) has been advocated to cure the problem of persistent unemployment and income insecurity.  In this paper it is argued that a BI system raises important philosophical questions about individuals' rights and obligations to society.  Also the impact of a BI on job creation, skill development, the wage structure, employment and living standards is problematic.  Some supporters of the BI emphasise the environmentally friendly lifestyle and work changes that would result, but these views are rather speculative.  A Job Guarantee (JG) designed to provide economic security for all workers through access to meaningful work would be better suited to meet unmet social needs and address growing environmental problems.  The JG may represent a step in the transition to an unconditional BI, following the reassessment of what constitutes work in the light of rising labour productivity and falling average weekly hours of paid work.


CHRONICLE:

October 2001 - January 2002
Erling Rasmussen and  Ian McIntosh

A round-up of recent New Zealand industrial relations events.

Archives

Information on recent, non-indexed NZJIR issues can be found by clicking on the appropriate links below.

Volume 23, Number 2 - June 1998
Volume 23, Number 3 - October 1998
Volume 24, Number 1 - February 1999
Volume 24, Number 2 - June 1999
Volume 24, Number 3 - October 1999
Volume 25, Number 1 - February 2000
Volume 25, Number 2 - June 2000
Volume 25, Number 3 - October 2000
Volume 26, Number 1 - February 2001
Volume 26, Number 2 - June 2001
Volume 26, Number 3 - October 2001
Volume 27, Number 1- February 2002
Volume 27, Number 2- June 2002
Volume 27, Number 3 - October 2002
Volume 28, Number 1- February 2003
Volume 28, Number 2- June 2003
Volume 28, Number 3- October 2003