Employer preferences, collective agreements and the Australian resources sector: a paradox of limited commodification?
There is a commonly held view that firms in high-wage/skill-intensive sectors will tend to provide wages and working conditions that are above market-clearing levels. This article empirically examines this claim by analysing the content of all collective agreements concluded in the resource sector in Australia after the enactment in 2006 of the Workplace Relations Amendment (Workchoices) Act. This legislation gave employers unprecedented ability to place downwards pressure on employee entitlements. In the resource sector, however, the quantitative results indicate that firms maintained, in the main, substantive standards but used extensively key regulatory provisions to gain an unprecedented level of control over both functional and numerical flexibility.
Industrial Relations Journal