Australian Bureau of Statistics
1301.0 - Year Book Australia, 2007
Previous ISSUE Released at 11:30 AM (CANBERRA TIME) 24/01/2007
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In May 2004, 38% of all private sector employees had their pay set through an unregistered individual arrangement, compared with only 4% of public sector employees (table 6.53). Most public sector employees had their pay set by a registered collective agreement (92%). Men were more likely than women to have their pay set by an unregistered individual arrangement (35% compared with 27%), and less likely than women to have their pay set by award only (16% compared with 24%). Part of the difference between male and female employees' pay setting methods can be attributed to the differing proportions of men and women in the various occupation and industry groups.
The occupation groups which had the highest proportion of employees who had their pay set by a registered or unregistered individual arrangement were Advanced clerical and service workers, and Managers and administrators (52% and 47% respectively) (table 6.54). A further 27% of Managers and administrators were working proprietors of their own incorporated business. Awards were far more prevalent in the lower skilled occupations, with 40% of Elementary clerical, sales and service workers and 38% of Labourers and related workers having their pay set by award only. In contrast, only 1% of Managers and administrators, 7% of Professionals and 8% of Associate professionals had their pay set by award only. Collective agreements were most prevalent for Professionals (56%) and Intermediate production and transport workers (50%).
The Accommodation, cafes and restaurants, and Retail trade industries had the highest proportion of employees who had their pay set by award only (60% and 31% respectively) (table 6.55). Collective agreements were more prevalent in Government administration and defence (89%), Education (84%) and Electricity, gas and water supply (80%). The industries with the highest proportion of employees who had their pay set through a registered or unregistered individual arrangement were Wholesale trade (62%), Mining (58%) and Property and business services (57%).
In ABS statistics, an industrial dispute is a 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.
This section presents statistics on industrial disputes involving work stoppages of ten or more working days lost. Working days lost refers to working days lost by employees directly and indirectly involved in the dispute. Directly involved employees are those who actually participated in the dispute. Indirectly involved employees are those who were stood down at the location where the stoppage occurred, but who were not themselves parties to the dispute.
The number of working days lost per year, and the number of employees involved, have fluctuated from year to year, but have decreased significantly over the last two decades (graph 6.56).
There were 228,300 working days lost due to industrial disputes in 2005, a decrease of 40% from 2004 (table 6.57). There were less disputes in 2005 than in 2004 (472 compared with 692) and the average number of working days lost per dispute decreased (from 549 to 484). In contrast, the number of employees involved in industrial disputes rose by 24%, from 194,000 in 2004 to 241,000 in 2005.
The number of working days lost per thousand employees decreased from 46 in 2004 to 26 in 2005 (table 6.58). The Coal mining industry, which had the highest number in each year from 2001 to 2005, recorded the highest increase (41%) between 2004 and 2005 (from 295 to 500). The Construction industry had the second highest number of working days lost per thousand employees in 2005 (154), followed by Metal products, machinery and equipment manufacturing (104). The industries which recorded the largest decreases between 2004 and 2005 were Other mining (down from 118 to 27), Education, Health and community services (down from 82 to 29) and Construction (down from 224 to 154).
Trade union membership
A trade union is defined as an organisation, consisting predominantly of employees, whose principal activities include the negotiation of rates of pay and conditions of employment for its members. In August 2005 there were 1.9 million employees who were trade union members in their main job, a 4% increase on the number recorded in August 2004. While the number of employees who were trade union members increased, the proportion of employees who were trade union members decreased slightly between August 2004 (22.7%) and August 2005 (22.4%) (table 6.59). The public sector had a higher rate of unionisation in 2005, with 47% of employees having trade union membership, compared with 17% in the private sector. A slightly higher proportion of men than women were trade union members (24% compared with 21%).
The rate of trade union membership in Australia peaked at 61% in 1962 (graph 6.60), before declining rapidly between 1962 and 1970. This was followed by increasing membership during the 1970s. However, since then the proportion of employees who were trade union members has steadily declined.
Some of the factors contributing to the decline in trade union membership include the changing workplace relations environment and the changing industry composition of the workforce. These changes include declines in employment levels in traditionally highly unionised industries and the emergence of industries that are not highly unionised. Another factor in the decline in trade union membership is the increase in part-time and casual employment. These types of employment have historically been less unionised than full-time employment.
The level of trade union membership varies considerably across industries, with the Electricity, gas and water supply and Education (both 43%), Government administration and defence (40%), and Transport and storage (34%) industries being the most unionised in 2005 (graph 6.61). The least unionised industries were Agriculture, forestry and fishing (6%), Property and business services and Accommodation, cafes and restaurants (both 7%) and Wholesale trade (9%).
Between 2000 and 2005 most industries experienced a drop in their rate of unionisation. The largest declines occurred in the more unionised industries, with the proportion of employees who were trade union members falling in the Communication services industry (from 38% to 26%), Electricity, gas and water supply (from 53% to 43%) and Mining (from 32% to 25%). The Government administration and defence and Agriculture, forestry and fishing industries were the only industries to experience an increase in the proportion of trade union members.
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