Dinosaurs are not Dead: The Success of the AMIEU (Qld) in Coping with Industrial Relations Change and AWAs
journal contributionposted on 08.06.2017, 01:53 by Jerrard, Marjorie
With the move towards Australian Workplace Agreements promoted by the Workplace Relations Act 1996 gaining momentum, comes the issue of how do unions adapt to this changing environment, particularly those unions regarded as 'traditional' and therefore as "dinosaurs". In the shrinking Queensland meat processing and export industry, the Australasian Meat Industry Employees' Union is such a union and in 1997 it was confronted with the introduction of AWAs by two companies. The union had to develop a strategy to counter-act a possible threat to its membership base from individual contracts and the threat to established wages and conditions which it had won for its members across the state through collective bargaining. The union had already chosen to rely on its traditional strengths to meet the initial challenges posed by the changing industrial relations climate of the earlier 1990s and saw no reason not to utilise those same strengths in overcoming this most recent threat. This paper provides a practical, rather than theoretical, assessment of the strategies adopted by the AMIEU(Qld).