It is widely acknowledged among the scholars that a great variety of different theoretical and practical viewpoints on the employment relations in Australia exist and all perspectives shall be always considered while elaborating the managerial , structural and social policies of the enterprise or a service agency. The authors of this increasingly valuable educational tool have deliberately accentuated the importance of the work conflict in the labor environment. While reviewing the importance of the work conflict, the active participation of all actors in industrial relations shall be scrutinized. In particular, the performance of one actor is the pledge of the work of other participants of the industrial process.
Besides, the explanatory model of the employment relations in both industrial and service rendering sectors of the economy is reflected in the performance of the trade unions and the affiliated institutions. It is exemplified that according to this model, the current role of trade unions and the performance of non-union organizations, which performance is channeled with the attainment of the positive outcomes for both the employers and the employees and the linking institutions like the chain of managers, mediators and court and arbitral institutions.
The authors directly revealed the fact the approximately eighty per cent of all Australian workmates are represented neither by the trade unions organizations and their affiliated institutions, nor by the non-union professional associations, which are obliged to safeguard and ensure the rights and the privileges of the employees, employers and the linking institutions. Moreover, the authors accentuate the fact that the role of the working institutions is deliberately diminished and their role remains passive, and therefore the scope of the rights granted to the employees under the law is artificially diminished by the owners of the enterprises.
The model which is advocated by the scholars, who have written this book, involves an extensive and complicated model of dispute resolution. The major instrument that governs the procedure and the applicable law, which is applied when the dispute resolution is under way, is the 1904 Conciliation and Arbitration Act. The provisions of this act dictate that interests of the workers and the employers are subject to the intensified legal scrutiny and regulation.
Specific accent has been made on the occupational health and safety sectors and their importance is highly intensified by the authors. The leading scholars of the Australian Labor law and of the industrial relations have set forth that these spheres of the labor sector in Australia are the most important ones because they assure the mental and physical health of the workers and the principles that have been elaborated, implement these polices, which are of paramount importance to the entire Australian labor sector.
The importance of the ‘explanatory model of the employment relations’ can hardly be overestimated, as it provides a deep and profound insight into the peculiarities of the Australian employment and industrial relations and facilitates the understanding and comprehension of the peculiarities of the labor sector. It is widely advocated that the recommendations and guidelines of these scholars are of paramount importance for both scientific and industrial communities of the Australian Commonwealth and adjoined jurisdictions, in where the provisions of the Australian labor law are legally mandatory.
Changes to the Australian Economy since 1970th
Significant transformations took place in Australia in 1970th. First, and foremost, an extensive application of the technological revolution achievements has been implemented and integrated into the economy. The manufacturing process on the assembly lines has been simplified to the greatest extent and a specific type of work that has previously been conducted by manual labor, i.e. by the workers themselves, became possible to be exercised by robots and other machinery mechanisms. In particular, it concerns the agricultural sector, the production of the goods and the mining sectors. Briefly, the number of the employees in these industries has diminished substantially because of the technological advancement, which has been incorporated into the process of production or assembly of goods.
As far as the agricultural sector is concerned, the manual labor has been majorly substituted by the work of the machines. Manually cultivated fields began being cultivated by tractors and other machinery. The breeding of the domesticated animals like pigs, sheep and rabbits experienced the same scope of changes. It must be particularly highlighted that due to the rise in population of Australia, the demand remained on the same level and even has risen insignificantly, while the number of the workers engaged in industry has been curtailed on 65-75% across the country. Manual labor has been almost entirely ousted by the labor of the machines. Even the sheep have been fleeced by the mechanical scissors.
With regard to production of goods sector, it shall be stressed that almost identical changes as in the agricultural sector have taken place. While the demand still remains on the same level, the manual labor of the workers has been majorly substituted by the work of robots and other machines and the entire manufacturing process has been greatly simplified and became more ecologically friendly. The same industrial changes can be traced in the mining sector of the economy. Coal, iron and gold ore, and other natural resources are excavated nowadays not by means of manual labor and picker, but the process became almost entirely automatized and therefore the number of the employees decreased substantially.
In contrast to the changes, which took place in the industrial spheres of the economy, the number of the employees engaged in the services has skyrocketed on almost 60 %. The economy demanded more lawyers, waiters, social workers and other professions engaged in services.
With reference to the employment relations in connection with the aforementioned industrial changes, it must be highlighted that the entire set of the employment relations became considerably more complicated and many different provisions and amendments have been incorporated into the labor bylaws and laws and other legal instruments. In particular, it shall be stressed that the benefits and advantages of the workers and employees have been substantially improved and the industrial and labor obligations of the employers were increased. They have become legally obliged to create safer working conditions and provide a considerably more flexible working schedule, ensuring that work-life balance is maintained.
The Role of Management in the Employment Relations
The managers have always played an important role in the system of the employment relations, being a connecting link between the employer and an owner of a certain enterprise and the employees who work for these employers. To be more exact, these professionals implement the labor decisions and other directives that have been taken by the employer or by the authorized person. In other words, the managers are the linking element between the owner of the enterprise and the employees of this enterprise and their work considerably simplifies the process of manufacture or the production of certain commodities.
The first element that shall be necessarily mentioned in this section of my report is the fact that the managers can be either the employees or the employers themselves. They may either own an enterprise or they can be hired by the owner to monitor the process of production of the process of rendering services. Therefore, their status defines a set of laws, bylaws and other legal instruments that define the scope of their rights or obligations. If a manager is simultaneously an owner of an enterprise, he is therefore legally obliged to ensure and safeguard the normal and corresponding to the medical prescriptions working environment, and to grant to his employees all benefits and privileges, which are due for them under the law, i.e. the right to vacation, to re-consideration of the salary, to the defined working hours and to other privileges guaranteed under the law. Besides, the managers have to exercise a number of other functions. Primarily, the function of team-leading is a paramount one. To encourage the staff to perform better, they implement new managerial schemes of encouraging and raising productivity results and their monitoring how these schemes are implemented and whether their efforts bring results. Besides, the managers ensure that the communication processes are functioning normally and all the team members are accessed to each other. Secondly, the important task of managers is ensuring that all legal requirements imposed by the government are strictly observed by the employees and that the working conditions of the place, where the manufacturing process is, under ways or where the services are rendered, fully corresponds to those requirements. If the employees perform poorly, the task of managers is to detect the imperfections of the manufacturing or rendering of the services process and to find out how this imperfections and shortcoming of the working environment can be removed to raise the efficiency of the performance.
Apart from being a link, the managers are the employees themselves. Hence, they enjoy the same rights and privileges as other employees under the provisions of the Australian labor law and the provisions of the World’s Labor Organization, which have been signed and ratified by the Australian government and therefore are legally mandatory within the jurisdiction. Therefore, the managers are the one of the most important elements in the system of employment relations, which ensures the implementation of the owners’ decisions while ensuring that the rights and privileges of the employees are observed.
The Intervention of the State
It is a widely established fact that Australia has one of the most complex labor law systems in the entire legal family of the Common law countries. Contrasting with other countries, only the labor law system of the United States of America, both on the federal and the state level is considerably more complicated than the one in Australia. But in contrast with the rest of the common law countries, Australia undoubtedly has the most intricate labor law environment, which is regulated by a wide set of laws, bylaws, directives and regulations having various natures and legal forces.
The issues of health and safety are primarily regulated by the 2009 Fair Work Act. The benefits, rights and privileges that are granted to the employees in Australia, entirely correspond to the legal requirements prescribed by the mandatory provisions of the contemporary international labor standards. In particular, the employees enjoy a full set of safe prescriptions. To illustrate, miners are entirely protected by the helmets and safe vests, which are mandated by the law and the observance of these obligations is monitored by managers. With regard to the Equal Employment Opportunities, an equal working environment is guaranteed by the same 2009 Fair Work Act, which specifies that people of all races, sex genders and origins, either they are White Protestants or negro should be treated equally. Cases of discrimination, virtually by means of preferring a specific employer on the basis of his gender or racial traits but not his professional characteristics, are strictly prohibited under the law, and those employers who practice these cases of discrimination are severely persecuted by the respective government authorities and immense fines are issued by both these authorities and the police forces of Australia. If a dispute between a prospective employee and an employer arises, the process of dispute resolution and the applicable law is defined by the 1904 Conciliation and Arbitration Act. The court practice indicates that both the courts and the arbitral institutions of Australia generally favor the position of the plaintiff, the employee in the majority of cases. The cases of unfair dismissal are reported to take place rarely in Australia, primarily due to the reasons that the stage control and the monitoring agencies are always present. However, if an unfair dismissal still takes place, it is reported that the courts of Australia usually restore the unfairly dismissed employee in his former position and the employer is respectively fined by the authorities.
The current employment legislation significantly complements and fortifies the legal positions of the unions in Australian workplaces. To illustrate, under the provision of the Australian Industrial Relations Law Reform 2005, the unions became entitled to participate in the dispute resolution processes actively. Moreover, if the union does not give consent to the dismissal of a certain employee and it happens, then the court is likely to cancel the termination of employment upon the solicitation of the labor union.
The Relationships between Employment Relations in General, Unions in Particular, and Productivity and High Performance in the Workplaces
In general, the main participants of the employment relationships are the employer, the employee, trade unions, the courts and the government authorities. These elements of the employment relationships participate constantly and are linked very closely. The social responsibility promoted by the companies is implemented in the policies, which have positive effects on situations of workers in the company, and the observance of these polices is subject to the government regulation, supervision and constant monitoring. The obligations are distributed in the following way: the employees exercise their functions in accordance with the job description they receive from the employee, the employee in his turn ensures that the employees are provided with the legally satisfactory working environment and that the salaries and wages are paid on a timely and regular basis and that the pre and post-employment benefits are guaranteed and that these guarantees are completely observed by managers. The employers are entitled to bring the employees to liability, when the provisions of the labor agreement are somehow violated or when the employee does not adhere to the provisions of the law principles, in particular to the 1904 Conciliation and Arbitration Act, 2009 Fair Work Act and 2005 Australian Industrial Relations Law Reform. It shall be particularly accentuated that in Australia, all participants of the employment relationships are actively engaged in the employment intercourse. Generally, the rights of the employers and the employees are assured and safeguarded due to an active intervention of the government.
The industrial performance of the company directly depends on the encouragement policies promoted by managers and by the employers themselves. If the workers and other employees are accordingly remunerated and inspired to work, the indicators of the professional performance accordingly rise. The studies indicate that the most effective performance is usually demonstrated in the enterprises, where the employees are encouraged by monetary means and by the significant social packages.
As far as a connection to the labor unions is concerned, it must be particularly accentuated that the labor unions play a vital role. They ensure that the rights of the employees are considered and accentuated by the employers, when the industrial policies and strategies are being elaborated by the employer and when the specific managerial decisions that may directly or indirectly affect the well-being of the employees or somehow infringe upon their rights are being taken.