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This article analyses the recent move from highly centralised and regulated Australian industrial relations processes towards a decentralised and deregulated system which…
This article analyses the recent move from highly centralised and regulated Australian industrial relations processes towards a decentralised and deregulated system which emphasises enterprise and individual employee level determination of pay and conditions. The article focuses on the Western Australian Workplace Agreement system designed to take account of the interests of small business. Statistical analysis and case studies are used to identify the extent to which small service sector enterprises have used this more “flexible” framework to implement improved HRM processes. An evaluation of HRM “best practice” literature and case study analyses of successful small, service enterprises are used to analyse the questionable relevance to this sector of existing HRM “best practice” models. The omission of “functional” and “numerical” flexibility from many models is identified as being particularly problematic. The article outlines a research programme to identify the strategic use made of these forms of flexibility in other sectors.
This paper investigates the operation of the National Agreement in the general printing industry at a time when the future of such agreements is in doubt. Drawing on both…
This paper investigates the operation of the National Agreement in the general printing industry at a time when the future of such agreements is in doubt. Drawing on both quantitative and qualitative data from union representatives, the paper provides insights into the workplace practices of pay, technology, flexibility and work intensification in the context of the National Agreement and local labour market factors. Set against a highly competitive, technologically dynamic environment, the paper demonstrates the general resilience of the National Agreement alongside a complex and uneven picture at the level of the workplace.
The COVID-19 pandemic has devastated economies and public health systems across the globe, increasing the anticipation for the creation of an effective vaccine. With this…
The COVID-19 pandemic has devastated economies and public health systems across the globe, increasing the anticipation for the creation of an effective vaccine. With this comes the reinforcement of debates between the right to health and pharmaceutical patent rights. The purpose of this study is to illustrate how the Philippines could attempt to balance the right to health with pharmaceutical patent rights in the introduction of a potential COVID-19 vaccine into the country.
This will be accomplished through an examination of the flexibilities allowed by international agreements and domestic patent laws.
With the economic and health challenges brought about by the COVID-19 pandemic, the Philippine Government will have a strong justification to pursue parallel importation and compulsory licencing under the Agreement on Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights. This is exacerbated by the bold leadership of President Duterte, whose administration has so far shown a propensity to decide in favor of the right to health at the expense of other rights in dealing with the pandemic.
While this paper focuses on the Philippines, it has a potential application in the least developed and developing countries which aim to gain access to a prospective COVID-19 vaccine. Moreover, while this study discusses the harmonization of laws on the right to health and patent laws as a solution to the COVID-19 pandemic and the lack of access to vaccines, it also calls for solutions that go beyond the application of the law.
The labour markets of Australia and New Zealand have been regulated in similar ways, through industrial conciliation and arbitration, since the early 1900s. Globalization…
The labour markets of Australia and New Zealand have been regulated in similar ways, through industrial conciliation and arbitration, since the early 1900s. Globalization and market deregulation generally have led to intense pressure for greater labour market flexibility in both countries. In New Zealand, flexibility was achieved by a radical dismantling of the industrial relations system. What had been essentially a multi‐employer bargaining system was replaced with a system that supported individual employment contracting. In Australia, conciliation and arbitration remained protected by the constitution; however, industrial relations reforms aimed at severely weakening the system were implemented in the 1990s. This paper compares various labour market outcomes across both countries. The trends in both countries are similar despite maintaining different systems. Collective bargaining coverage has dropped. Collective bargaining outcomes have seen reductions in benefits, and significant changes in working time arrangements. Union density has dropped, as also has public sector employment.
In the debate leading up to the publication of the proposed Government White Paper Fairness at Work, companies which have de‐recognised unions have been portrayed by the…
In the debate leading up to the publication of the proposed Government White Paper Fairness at Work, companies which have de‐recognised unions have been portrayed by the unions as looking backwards to “Victorian” employment practices. This paper traces the development of “single status” ‐ effecively the de‐recognition of trade unions ‐ at BP Chemicals. It indicates that, after an initial phase of “macho” tactics at its Baglan Bay site, management adopted an apparently more consensual approach at its two other main sites utilising ballots of workers for the “single status” package. Further, the package introduced Employee Forums on each site which formed the basis of the establishment of a European Works Council. As such it leads to a questioning of the effectiveness of measures in the White Paper to bring about a return to trade union recognition.
International purchasing partnerships are becoming an increasinglycommon and attractive way to procure goods and services in the globalmarketplace. Yet these complex…
International purchasing partnerships are becoming an increasingly common and attractive way to procure goods and services in the global marketplace. Yet these complex relationships may require special effort and attention in order to be successful. A review of the relevant literature and case studies of firms actively involved in international purchasing partnerships is used to highlight and discuss the key factors which contribute to international purchasing partnership success and failure. The implications of these factors for purchasing managers are also discussed.
Government and employers’ sources frequently emphasize that companies located in western Germany have traditionally been circumscribed in their pursuit of flexibility in…
Government and employers’ sources frequently emphasize that companies located in western Germany have traditionally been circumscribed in their pursuit of flexibility in staffing, working time arrangements and pay, due to the particular configuration of the German industrial relations system and labour market regulations. Examines to what extent recent deregulation and decentralization measures have actually enhanced the environment for greater labour flexibility. Then considers whether this has led to higher degrees of labour flexibility at the company level. The analysis of a number of key flexibility indicators reveals that, despite some significant broadening of the scope for greater labour flexibility since the late 1980s, companies seem, in general, not to have greatly altered their flexibility mix. In the light of the relatively high degree of functional flexibility in German firms, the pay‐offs from enhancing other forms of flexibility may be considered to be low.
Many functionalist models of international cooperation rely on punishment by states to enforce cooperation. However, the empirical record suggests that such state-based…
Many functionalist models of international cooperation rely on punishment by states to enforce cooperation. However, the empirical record suggests that such state-based accounts offer an incomplete explanation of international trade cooperation. We argue that when theoretical approaches are adjusted to incorporate aspects of domestic politics and institutions, two key insights emerge. First, political pressure from domestic industries can be key in creating demand for violations of trade agreements. Since such pressure is affected by stochastic shocks, the temptation of leaders to commit trade violations can vary over time. The presence of a dispute settlement procedure (DSP) provides flexibility that allows leaders to respond to such pressure by occasionally committing violations and then compensating their trading partners, if the DSP finds that the violation was not subject to exceptions in the trading agreement. This flexibility enhances the willingness of leaders to sign cooperative agreements in the first place. Second, domestic politics can function as an enforcement mechanism for ensuring compliance with international trade agreements and DSP rulings. Voters can condition their electoral decisions on whether their leader complies with socially beneficial trade agreements. The DSP plays an important role in this account as an information-provider. For voters to hold their leaders accountable, they need information about what choices their leader has made and whether his actions constitute compliance with an international agreement. The DSP provides transparency and reduces uncertainty about these factors.
Analyses the tensions between change and continuity in the German model of labour flexibility and examines why recent deregulation and decentralization measures only had a…
Analyses the tensions between change and continuity in the German model of labour flexibility and examines why recent deregulation and decentralization measures only had a limited impact on companies’ flexibility approaches. Addresses the subsequent issues of how, and to what extent the framework for the several forms of flexibility should be broadened in the particular German context, where the institutional/regulatory environment has encouraged the widespread adoption of a diversified quality production strategy, based on high levels of functional flexibility. Concludes that a large section of German companies may already operate near an optional labour flexibility mix. Suggests system internal reforms based on regulated flexibility and centrally co‐ordinated decentralization, in order to enhance, to some extent, the framework for flexibility without undermining the underlying incentive structure for high skills/high productivity approaches to flexibility.
Flexibility has become a buzz word in the 1980s. It has been seen as crucial to improvements in productivity. It has been cited as a prominent example of how markets have been made to “work better” and how changed market forces surrounding firms have produced changed working arrangements within firms. In a number of articles, Atkinson and his colleagues have argued that employers have developed a new “flexible firm” manpower strategy. It has an inner “core” of stable, skilled employees with secure employment and good conditions. Here flexibility is qualitative. Traditional craft demarcations are relaxed and workers are trained to be multi‐skilled. Around the core is an outer layer of peripheral workers with poorer conditions more directly determined by the market and with security of employment dependent on how busy the firm is. Here flexibility is quantitative. In addition the firm may employ other still more peripheral groups: temporary workers on short‐term contracts, part‐time workers, trainees on special government schemes. Finally, the firm may depend less on direct employment. It can subcontract to specialised suppliers of services, to self‐employed workers, rely more on out‐sourcing and so on. The overall effect is to rely far more on the market to bring different aspects of production together, rather than to rely on management in a much larger production unit organising everything with its own workforce.