Labour standards and practice

Who bargains? 2012

Client:  NSW Office of Industrial Relations

This project used data from the WRC's Australia at Work Survey to examine who bargains (and how). The analysis has shown that a substantial segment of the workforce, in particular the low skilled and low-paid, are shut out from collective bargaining. Essentially, whether an employee does not bargain comes down to two main influences: the level of bargaining power and structural factors such as the size of the workplace. Even where bargaining took place, awards were found to remain an essential determinant of how pay and conditions are set, whether directly and directly. The report analyses the findings in light of the low-paid bargaining stream for multi-employer bargaining that was a new feature introduced as part of the Fair Work Act.