What factors explain the fact that union density is so much higher in the public sector (38%)…

  • Over the last 12 years the female employment ratio has remained steady at 56-57% despite many new policy initiatives (paid parental leave, right to 12 months leave, right to return to job). Why has female employment rates failed to improve despite these initiatives?
  • · What factors explain the fact that union density is so much higher in the public sector (38%) than the private sector (9%)?
  • · The so-called Organising Model was supposed to revive trade union membership. Despite much research support, this has not happened. Why?
  • · Enterprise Bargaining is the main focus of the Australian system of wage determination. But only about 26% of the workforce is covered by current agreements with the rate continuing to fall. What explains the crisis of enterprise bargaining we have today?
  • · The BOOT test (Better off overall test) indicates that EVERY worker under an enterprise agreement must be better off for the Agreement to pass the test. This has caused a number of Agreements to be terminated. Is the BOOT test an important protection or an impediment to enterprise agreements that suit the interests of workers and employers?
  • · Strikes and other forms of worker protest were once common. Today they are virtually non-existent. What explains the disappearance of strikes from the modern environment? Is it mainly caused by the disappearance of trade unions or other factors?
  • · Why do so few workers (app. 14,000 per year) take out wrongful dismissal claims on the basis of unfair, hard and unreasonable employer action?
  • · Why do so few workers (app. 4000 per year) take an action in the Fair Work Commission for breach of worker employment rights?
  • · There is much talk of bullying in the workplace. But very few workers take action, either through a workers compensation claim or a Fair Work Commission application. Why?
  • · There is much talk of the “gender pay gap”. What factors cause this gap and is it likely to continue into the future?
  • · Why have anti-discrimination laws and other policies proved so ineffective in redressing high levels of unemployment among Australia’s indigenous population?
  • · Is there a contradiction on merit based employment, free of any discriminatory practices, and policies aimed at giving priority to diversity?
  • · Can an employer dismiss a worker on the basis of the worker’s religious views or political opinions if their views run counter to the ethos of the business (assuming it is NOT a religious body)?

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