Work Reform and Productivity Unit

Economics & Deregulation / Work Reform and Productivity Unit

The Institute of Public Affairs Work Reform and Productivity Unit examines workplace relations issues. The Unit looks at how laws and social attitudes impact the ability of managers to run businesses and maximise employment opportunities. The Work Reform and Productivity Unit looks at workplace occupational health and safety issues, union activity in industrial sectors, skilled immigration, and the rise of the independent contractor.

Work safety

What are the basic principles of work safety in law and in practice? The Work Reform and Productivity Unit grounds the study of occupational health and safety legal regimes from a position of individual responsiblity and freedom of contract. For an introduction, see Workplace Health and Safety. The seminal IPA report The Politics of a Tragedy: The Gretley Mine Disaster and NSW OHS examines how the Gretley coal mining disaster triggered the introduction of Australia's worst OHS laws in NSW. More Work Safety publications.

The Australian construction sector

The Work Reform and Productivity Unit has a special focus on examining the market-corrupting practices endemic in the construction sector, and looking at the impact of the legal reforms of 2006-07 that focused on cleaning out much of that corruption. See for instance Anatomy of the Screw and Industrial Relations and the Struggle to Build in Victoria

The Work Reform held a major conference on construction industry reforms in 2007. Papers from the conference are available here.

See also

Capacity to manage index: the Work Reform and Productivity Unit has rated over 250 industrial instruments and their impact on managerial capacity in a wide variety of industries. See Capacity to Manage Reports.

The state of the food manufacturing sector: studies uncovering some key reasons why the Australian food manufacturing sector is underperforming. See Food Manufacturing Facing the Wall and Take Away Take Away.

Outworking: the unusually high industrial relations regulation of the clothing manufacturing sector, allegedly introduced to protect outworkers, has in fact damaged some of the most vulnerable workers in Australia. See Why Has the Arse Fallen Out of the Clothing Manufacturing Industry? and Outworkers Speak Out.

Casual Employment: the Work Reform held a conference on casual employment in 2004. Discussion papers from the conference are available here.

Industrial Relations and Trade Practices Law: The Work Reform and Productivity Unit held two conferences in 2003 and 2004 on how trade practices legislation could and should impact industrial relations. Papers from the conferences are avialable here: Trade Practices vs Industrial Relations: Balancing the Acts (2004) and The Last Frontier: Making Industrial Relations Subject to the TPA (2003).

Sub-topics of Work Reform and Productivity Unit

News

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The Demise of Ansett

Work Reform and Productivity Unit | Mike Nahan
Herald Sun 29th September, 2001

Ansett's collapse should send a chill around Australia. Not just because of its demise, but because of what it says about our work culture and its...

Who Should Bear the Costs of Workers' Entitlements?

Work Reform and Productivity Unit | Ken Phillips
Australian Financial Review 22nd September, 2001

Employee anger over the loss of their accrued entitlements by failed firms should at first instance be directed at Australia's industrial relations...

Think Twice Before Adopting European Labour Relations

Work Reform and Productivity Unit | Mike Nahan
Herald Sun 7th July, 2001

Amongst union leaders, Europe is the preferred benchmark for labour laws. Whether it be a protected role for unions, collective bargaining, minimum...

Workers' compensation: is the slide beginning again?

Work Reform and Productivity Unit | Mike Nahan
Herald Sun 23rd June, 2001

Are we in for a repeat of the 1990s with Workcover? The debauchery of Victoria's workers' compensation scheme was one of the worst scandals of the...

Freedoms at Stake in Victoria's IR Law

Work Reform and Productivity Unit | Ken Phillips
Australian Financial Review 1st November, 2000

Australian people have unparalleled freedom. Unfortunately liberties can be stealth like removed if people forget about the social and legal...

Manufacturing Idiocy

Work Reform and Productivity Unit | Michael Warby
Adelaide Review 1st September, 2000

The story of the failure of Australian manufacturing is epitomised by H.V. McKay, the inventor and manufacturer of the Sunshine Harvester, which...

What Works for the Workers

Work Reform and Productivity Unit | Ron Brunton
Courier Mail 19th August, 2000

Many people think that unions are more enthusiastic about ruthless power plays than advancing the interests of workers. Recent allegations that the...

Free Shearers Don't Click with the Union

Work Reform and Productivity Unit | Ken Phillips
Australian Financial Review 14th June, 2000

Walk into a shearing shed today and up to half the workers are women, many are degree educated, most well traveled and many talk of careers in the...

Danger from Trades Hall

Work Reform and Productivity Unit | Alan Moran
Herald Sun 15th March, 2000

The push for a 36-hour week in the construction industry has nothing to do with workers having more leisure. It is about having overtime pay kick...

Battle of the Giants

Work Reform and Productivity Unit | Alan Moran
Sydney Daily Telegraph 21st January, 2000

Back in October of last year, BHP announced that it was moving from an industrial award to individual workplace agreements in its Pilbara...

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