Cause of Dispute
Cause of dispute statistics relate to the reported main cause of stoppage of work and not necessarily all causes that may have been responsible for the stoppage of work. For these reasons, the statistics do not reflect the relative importance of all causes of disputes as perceived by both employers and employees. The causes are classified from information supplied by employers and according to standards determined by the International Labour Organisation.
Disputes are initially classified according to whether a dispute occurred during a process of workplace/enterprise bargaining. A process of workplace/enterprise bargaining refers to the negotiations that take place between an employer and their employees (or their representatives), in reaching an agreement over pay and employment conditions.
Disputes not related to a process of workplace/enterprise bargaining include:
Disputes are then further classified according to the main cause of the dispute, as follows:
- disputes relating to award negotiations
- disputes relating to the content or application of an existing agreement (and do not seek to amend or terminate the agreement)
Enterprise Bargaining (EB) related:
Remuneration: Disputes relating to wages and other forms of remuneration, e.g. increase/decrease in wages, allowances, entitlements and superannuation.
Employment conditions: Disputes relating to hours of work, leave, non-remuneration related benefits, and other general employment conditions, e.g. increase/decrease in hours, distribution of hours and holiday and leave provisions.
Other EB related: Causes other than Remuneration or Employment conditions, including job security and other causes relating to a process of workplace/enterprise bargaining, e.g. pattern bargaining strikes, disputes where employees refuse to enter into enterprise bargaining negotiations.
Remuneration: as above
Employment conditions: as above
Health and safety: Disputes concerning physical working conditions, safety issues and workers' compensation provisions, e.g. accidents, protective clothing and equipment, first aid services, uncomfortable working conditions, employee amenities, shortage or poor distribution of equipment or material, condition of equipment, and arduous physical tasks.
Job security: Disputes concerning issues relating to job security, e.g. retrenchment of employees, downsizing, restructuring, use of contractors, outsourcing, re-classification of the workforce, and market conditions within the relevant industry.
Managerial policy: Disputes relating to the decisions and policies of line managers, e.g. disciplinary matters, suspensions, personal disagreement, discrimination, decisions that impact upon work and family issues, docking of pay, fines, production limits or quotas, principles of promotion or filling positions, and work practices.
Union issues: Disputes concerning the alleged anti-union attitude of the employer, inter-union and intra-union disputes (e.g. demarcation disputes), sympathy stoppages in support of employees in another industry, and recognition of union activities.
Other non-EB related: Disputes that cannot be ascribed to any other category, e.g. political protests.
An industrial dispute is defined as a state of disagreement over an issue or group of issues between an employer and its employees, which results in employees ceasing work. Industrial disputes comprise strikes, which are a withdrawal from work by a group of employees; and lockouts, which are a refusal by an employer or group of employers to permit some or all of their employees to work.
Disputes which ended during the reference period
Disputes which ended during the period encompasses those disputes which:
Disputes which occurred during the reference period
- started in a previous period and ended in the reference period
- began and ended in the reference period.
Disputes which occurred during the period encompasses those disputes which:
- started in a previous period and ended in the reference period
- began and ended in the reference period
- began in the reference period and continued into the next period
- started prior to the reference period and continued past the reference period.
Employees refers to wage and salary earners only. Excluded are persons who are self-employed (e.g. building sub-contractors, owner-drivers of trucks) and employers.
Employees directly involved: Employees who actually participated in the dispute in order to enforce or resist a demand or to express a grievance.
Employees indirectly involved: Employees who were stood down at the location where the stoppage occurred, but who were not themselves parties to the dispute. Employees who were stood down at locations other than those where the disputes occurred are excluded.
Employees newly involved: For a new dispute, comprises all employees who are involved and, for an ongoing dispute, those involved for the first time.
Total employees involved: Comprises employees newly involved and, for an ongoing dispute, those who continue to be involved. Total employees involved for any period of time is obtained by adding together the number of employees involved in each dispute for the period.
Industry is classified according to the Australian and New Zealand Standard Industrial Classification (ANZSIC), 1993 (cat. no. 1292.0).
Other industries comprises those industries not included in the specified industry groupings, i.e. Agriculture, forestry and fishing; Electricity, gas and water supply; Wholesale trade; Retail trade; Accommodation, cafes and restaurants; Finance and insurance; Property and business services; Government administration and defence; Cultural and recreational services and Personal and other services.
Reason Work Resumed
Reason work resumed statistics relate to the reason for ending the stoppage of work as reported and not necessarily to the reason(s) for settling all matters in dispute. Therefore, they do not reflect the relative importance of the work of various industrial tribunals operating under state and federal legislation. The classification of Reason work resumed is as follows:
Negotiation without intervention of a third party: Negotiation between the parties involved, or their representatives, without the intervention or assistance of authorities constituted under state or federal industrial legislation, and without mediation.
State legislation: Intervention or assistance of an industrial authority or authorities created by, or constituted under, state industrial/workplace relations legislation. Disputes that are referred to a mediator by a state industrial tribunal, either on a voluntary or compulsory basis, are included under 'Mediation' (except in instances where mediation is directed and a return to work ordered).
Federal legislation: Intervention or assistance of the Australian Industrial Relations Commission (AIRC). Disputes that are referred to a mediator by the AIRC, either on a voluntary or compulsory basis, are included under 'Mediation' (except in instances where mediation is directed and a return to work ordered).
Pre-determined return to work: Disputes for which a return to work is determined prior to the industrial action, e.g. when employees decide to go out on strike for a pre-determined period of 24 hours.
Resumption without negotiation: Disputes in which employees decide to return to work without the dispute being resolved, and without any negotiations having taken place to prompt the return, e.g. stop-work meetings, and disputes where employees decide to return to work to avoid further loss of earnings or for other reasons. This category may include some disputes which are settled subject to subsequent negotiation, such as industrial court hearings.
Mediation: Disputes that are settled through the assistance of a mediator, either voluntarily or as directed by a state or federal industrial tribunal, e.g. AIRC.
Other reasons: Disputes that cannot be ascribed to any other category, e.g. replacing employees on strike or locked out, permanent closure of business, and dismissal or resignation of employees.
Working days lost
Working days lost refers to working days lost by employees directly and indirectly involved in the dispute.
Working days lost per employee involved (formerly 'Duration of dispute')
The average number of working days lost per employee involved in the dispute, calculated by dividing the number of working days lost in the dispute by the number of employees involved (both directly and indirectly).
Working days lost per thousand employees
Working days lost per thousand employees are calculated for a quarterly period by dividing the total number of working days lost in the period by the total number of employees in the Australian labour force in the period (obtained from the ABS Labour Force Survey) and multiplying by 1,000. Labour Force Survey employee estimates are revised every 5 years as a result of the implementation of new population benchmarks from the Census of Population and Housing. As a result, estimates of working days lost per thousand employees are also subject to revision.
This page last updated 6 September 2006