Australia no longer strike bound – but right to strike alive and well

06 Dec 2018 |

“New data released today by the ABS confirms that Australians not only have the right to strike but use it, contrary to the exaggerations of the big unions,” James Pearson, Chief Executive of the Australian Chamber of Commerce and Industry – Australia’s largest and most representative business network, said today.

“The ACTU claimed earlier this year that, “The right to strike in Australia is very nearly dead.” (link)

“But today’s industrial disputes data from the ABS reports more than 150 strikes over the 12 months to September, involving almost 50,000 employees. That took from workers, and the people they work for, over 100,000 days of both wages and productivity.

“It is patently untrue to claim, as big unions do, that the right to strike is near-dead in contemporary Australia – the data clearly shows otherwise.

“Minimising strikes and lockouts has been a central goal of our industrial relations system for more than a century.  Australians have worked hard together to shed our unwanted reputation as a strike-bound unreliable place to invest and do business. We got there because we stopped putting entire industries at the mercy of industrial action. Instead, Labor and Liberal governments encouraged negotiations within individual firms and empowered employers and employees to make enterprise agreements.

“There are improvements to be made to the enterprise agreement system, for sure, but the only people claiming we need more strikes, and a return to the damaging militancy and division of the 1970s and industry-wide bargaining, are the officials of big unions.”

Duncan Bremner

Director - Public Affairs and Advocacy

P  |  0448 822 666

E  |  [email protected]

Scott Barklamb

Director - Workplace Relations

P  |  0488 400 486

E  |  [email protected]

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