Business Repot - Patrick Stevedores Dispute

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Business Assessment
HSC Course

Employment Relations – Patrick Stevedores waterfront dispute (1998)

In this report, an analysis of employment relations is looked at in regard to the Patrick Stevedores Dispute of 1998. This dispute was a massive class battle that took place between Patrick Stevedores and the Maritime Union of Australia (MUA). It was one of Australia’s biggest, ever industrial conflicts of the 1990’s challenging the industrial unions of the time by the standing Australian Government.

The points that will be covered throughout this summary and analysis report are: • The Causes of the dispute
• The Lead Up to the dispute
• The Parties Involved- Australian Government/ Patrick Stevedores - The Union (MUA)
• The Outcomes
• The Final Result/ Conclusion

The Causes

Improvement of the Waterfront had been in concern by the Australian Stevedoring Corporation and Australian Government for some time. In 1997, the Government decided on an attempt to demolish the MUA through the help of Chris Corrigan, the owner of one of Australia’s biggest Stevedoring companies – Patrick Stevedores, in order to introduce a new non-union workforce on the wharfs. It was hoped that these changes to the wharfs would also encourage other industrial bosses to break union control in other trades. The problem was that for the company to gain productivity and efficiency, they would need to cut on expenses, including wages, and reduce prices. Corrigan attempted this through making redundancies and hiring more contracted but casual employees. Similar changes were also proposed for workers wages and working conditions to even out Patrick’s. This was argued by employees and was one of the main causes for the dispute.

In 1996, Howard brought in a legislation of anti unionism - the Workplace Relations Act, which simply put, made striking illegal for all Union supported employees and had the ability to fine Unions for ‘illegal...
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