'Freedom of Choice' or 'Freedom from Choice'?: Bargaining and Individual Contracts in the Victorian Public Sector
journal contributionposted on 05.06.2017, 02:48 by Backwell, Jim, Barrett, Rowena
John Howard went to the last federal election saying "Employees will have the choice to remain in the current award system....employees will have the choice of entering into workplace agreements." 'Freedom of choice' underlies the federal Government's reforms contained within the Workplace Relations Act 1996, just as it does the Industrial relations reforms which have been made in Victoria since March 1993. In this paper the experiences that the Community and Public Sector Union/State Public Service Federation (Victoria) has had bargaining in the Victorian Public Sector are examined. It is argued that unless the freedom to choose is supported by certain conditions, for example recourse to arbitration, then the outcome for employees can be 'freedom from choice'.