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Strike Activity Under Enterprise Bargaining: Economics or Politics?


  • Ann Hodgkinson

    () (Wollongong University)


Australia has moved rapidly from a centralised Award based wage determination system to decentralised enterprise bargaining. This move has been associated with a substantial drop in strike activity. The relationship between working days lost and a series of macroeconomic variables is tested for the period 1985 to 2003, incorporating dummy variables for the different pieces of industrial legislation and four major periods of political strike activity in that period. The economic variables proved mostly insignificant with only the CPI and business inventories having any association with changes in strike activity. Working days lost fell significantly with the introduction of enterprise bargaining. Both the Reform Act 1993 and the Workplace Relations Act 1996 were associated with below trend strike activity. Overall, these results indicate that institutional factors now influence strike volumes, rather than economic.

Suggested Citation

  • Ann Hodgkinson, 2004. "Strike Activity Under Enterprise Bargaining: Economics or Politics?," Australian Journal of Labour Economics (AJLE), Bankwest Curtin Economics Centre (BCEC), Curtin Business School, vol. 7(4), pages 439-457, December.
  • Handle: RePEc:ozl:journl:v:7:y:2004:i:4:p:439-457

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Beggs, John J & Chapman, Bruce J, 1987. "Declining Strike Activity in Australia 1983-85: An International Phenomenon?," The Economic Record, The Economic Society of Australia, vol. 63(183), pages 330-339, December.
    2. L.J. Perry & Patrick J. Wilson, 2000. "The Accord and strikes: an International perspective," Australian Journal of Labour Economics (AJLE), Bankwest Curtin Economics Centre (BCEC), Curtin Business School, vol. 4(4), pages 232-247, December.
    3. Johansen, Soren, 1991. "Estimation and Hypothesis Testing of Cointegration Vectors in Gaussian Vector Autoregressive Models," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 59(6), pages 1551-1580, November.
    4. Johansen, Soren, 1988. "Statistical analysis of cointegration vectors," Journal of Economic Dynamics and Control, Elsevier, vol. 12(2-3), pages 231-254.
    5. Healy, Joshua Gregory, 2002. "Peace at last? Recent trends in Australia's industrial action," Australian Bulletin of Labour, National Institute of Labour Studies, vol. 28(2), pages 80-87.
    6. James McDonald & Harry Bloch, 1999. "The Spillover Effects of Industrial Action on Firm Profitability," Review of Industrial Organization, Springer;The Industrial Organization Society, vol. 15(2), pages 183-200, September.
    7. Morris, Alan & Wilson, Kenneth, 1994. "An Empirical Analysis of Australian Strike Activity: Further Evidence on the Role of the Prices and Income Accord," The Economic Record, The Economic Society of Australia, vol. 70(209), pages 183-191, June.
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    Cited by:

    1. Hodgkinson, Ann & Markey, Ray, 2005. "Assessing the Impact of the Workplace Relations Act From 1996 to 2004: Increasing Flexibility or Decreasing Collectivism?," Economics Working Papers wp05-30, School of Economics, University of Wollongong, NSW, Australia.

    More about this item


    History of Economic Thought since 1925; Wages; Compensation and labor costs: public policy (wage subsidies; minimum wage legislation) Economic history: labor and consumers; demography; education; income and wealth: Asia including Middle East;

    JEL classification:

    • B29 - Schools of Economic Thought and Methodology - - History of Economic Thought since 1925 - - - Other
    • J38 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Wages, Compensation, and Labor Costs - - - Public Policy
    • N35 - Economic History - - Labor and Consumers, Demography, Education, Health, Welfare, Income, Wealth, Religion, and Philanthropy - - - Asia including Middle East


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