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Demarcation disputes in contemporary Australian industrial relations : their causes and methods of resolution


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Tavender, P 1982 , 'Demarcation disputes in contemporary Australian industrial relations : their causes and methods of resolution', Coursework Master thesis, University of Tasmania.

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The objective of this paper is to evaluate the causes of
demarcation disputes between trade unions in contemporary
Australia, and to analyse methods of resolution of such
This topic is one which has had little attention in the
academic or professional literature; in a large majority
of cases where it has been mentioned, conflict over
demarcation issues is treated as incidental to the major
causes of industrial conflict and almost no more than an
undesirable side effect of existing processes and structures.
It will be shown however that although these disputes
represent only a small proportion of working days lost
through industrial conflict, the impact of such disputes upon
the total economy is far greater than this statistical
evidence would imply.
Apart from a recent article by Wright there does not appear
to have been any attempt to consider in detail this
particular type of dispute especially in respect of possible
causes, and how such disputes may be resolved.
In considering the causes of demarcation disputes, an
analysis of contemporary disputes reveals that they are
usually brought about, and influenced by, a multitude of
factors rather than one individual cause. While these
factors are often closely inter-related, they may, for ease
of analysis, be divided into 'four categories:-
(a) structure of employee organisations
(b) technological change
(c) power structure
(d) externalities, i.e. management
With respect to the resolution of such disputes, a large
percentage of conflict over demarcation matters are resolved
by the parties themselves; such situations are only classified
as disputes where some industrial action e.g. work limitations, takes place. When such conflict reaches the
stage where the parties are unable or unwilling to achieve
a resolution, then three basic approaches are used to
assist in resolution:-
(a) conciliation through the auspices of the 'peak'
councils e.g. Australian Council of Trade Unions
(b) conciliation and/or arbitration by industrial
(c) structural changes to employee organisations.
Information for this paper has been derived from
literature in respect of both the Australian and United
Kingdom environment, decisions of industrial tribunals and
interviews with trade union officials.

Item Type: Thesis - Coursework Master
Authors/Creators:Tavender, P
Keywords: Labor unions, Industrial relations
Copyright Holders: The Author
Copyright Information:

Copyright 1982 the author - The University is continuing to endeavour to trace the copyright owner(s) and in the meantime this item has been reproduced here in good faith. We would be pleased to hear from the copyright owner(s).

Additional Information:

Thesis (M.Soc.Sc.)--University of Tasmania, 1983. Bibliography: leaves 40-41

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