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This document was added or updated on 26/05/2020.
INDUSTRIAL DISPUTES COLLECTION
Disputes which ended during the period are further classified according to the:
Estimates are also available by state or territory and industry.
Industrial disputes are included within scope of the collection if the work stoppages amount to 10 or more working days lost within a month. Ten working days is equivalent to the amount of ordinary time which would have been worked: for example, during a stoppage of work by 10 employees for one day, or by 40 workers attending a 2 hour stop work meeting (assuming they worked an 8 hour day). Disputes which involve the equivalent of less than 10 working days lost are excluded.
Measures of industrial disputes are based on concepts and definitions outlined in international guidelines adopted by the 1993 International Conference of Labour Statisticians. Refer to the section Workplace Relations for more information.
The following types of industrial disputes are within the scope of the Industrial Disputes collection:
This concept of an industrial dispute differs from the concept of industrial action within the Fair Work Act. For example, a work stoppage based on a reasonable concern of the employee about an imminent risk to his or her health or safety is typically not considered industrial action under the Fair Work Act. However, it may be in scope of the industrial disputes collection if the employer believes that there is no imminent risk to the employees involved.
Excluded from the scope of the collection are other types of industrial action, such as work-to-rules, go-slows and bans (e.g. overtime bans). Also excluded are effects of disputes on locations other than where the stoppages occurred, such as stand-downs because of lack of materials, disruption of transport services and power cuts.
In addition, if all of the employees involved in an industrial dispute resign, that dispute is deemed to have ended and it is excluded from the scope of the collection from the date of the employment termination.
A list of organisations whose employees were involved in industrial disputes is compiled monthly. Statistics on industrial disputes are based on all disputes identified which occurred during the period. Disputes are identified through a range of sources, including media reports, listings obtained from the Fair Work Commission (FWC) website, state industrial relations commissions, contact with government organisations, businesses, employer associations and trade unions. Although every attempt is made to identify all disputes that occurred in a period, some small disputes may not be identified through the sources available.
Once all disputes for a month are identified, additional information on the nature and extent of each dispute is obtained through a questionnaire, usually sent to employers, on the nature and extent of the dispute. Employers who do not submit their questionnaire within a reasonable period of time after the survey reference period are followed up by mail and then phone if necessary.
Estimates are compiled according to the concepts and definitions outlined in the section: Workplace Relations. As the collection is a complete enumeration (census), no weighting is required.
If partial responses are received, some data items may be imputed e.g. working days lost in a particular strike. Due to the imputation procedures and the limitations on identification of disputes, the statistics should not be regarded as an exact measure of the extent of industrial disputation.
When there is a return to work between stoppages over the same issue, and the return to work is for less than two complete months, the stoppages are counted as a single dispute. When the return to work is for two or more months, the dispute is considered to have ended at the time of the return to work. Should a subsequent stoppage occur, it is counted as a new dispute. Due to the 'two month rule', data relating to disputes which ended in the quarter cannot be finalised until two months have elapsed without further industrial action. Consequently, the publication of data for disputes which ended during the quarter has been lagged by one quarter.
Revisions may be made to quarterly data as a result of disputes being identified after release of data for that quarter, or as a result of correcting errors in previously reported data.
The basis for the calculation of working days lost per thousand employees was changed in the January 1995 publication to use estimates of employees taken from the ABS Labour Force Survey. As part of the labour force quarterly rebenchmarking process, Industrial Disputes working days lost per thousand employees series are also subject to revision.
RELIABILITY OF ESTIMATES
Estimates from the industrial disputes collection are subject to non-sampling error (see the section: Overview of Survey Methods for more information).
DATA COMPARABILITY OVER TIME
In order to provide a high degree of consistency and comparability over time, changes to collection methods, concepts, data item definitions and frequency are made as infrequently as possible. Significant changes have included:
Details of definitions used in the industrial disputes collection are included in the section: Workplace Relations.
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