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Wednesday, 24 October 1984
Page: 2409

(Question No. 990)


Senator Bolkus asked the Minister representing the Treasurer, upon notice, on 21 August 1984:

(1) What are the national and State by State figures on days lost due to industrial disputes for the years 1982 and 1983.

(2) How many of these days were lost because of a dispute on wages and hours.

(3) How many disputes in the years 1982 and 1983 on a national and State by State basis were started because of employer refusal to negotiate.

(4) How many disputes on a national and State by State basis went to arbitration and how many were settled without arbitration in the years 1982 and 1983.

(5) In how many cases did the Federal Government intervene in industrial disputes in the years 1982 and 1983.

(6) How many times did intervention by the Federal Government lead to a resolution of the dispute in each of the years of 1982 and 1983.

(7) For each year 1982 and 1983 what was the average length of industrial disputes in Australia.


Senator Walsh —The Treasurer has provided the following answer to the honourable senator's question:

Apart from Parts (5) and (6), the information given has been supplied by the Australian Bureau of Statistics.

(1) The number of working days lost in industrial disputes for each State and Territory and for Australia during 1982 and 1983 are as follows:

WORKING DAYS LOST IN INDUSTRIAL DISPUTES (a)('000)

NSW Vic. Qld SA WA Tas. NT ACT Aust.

1982 961.6 368.0 509.8 66.6 162.4 61.5 14.5 13.6 2,158.0 1983 801.2 257.7 135. 0 87.7 270.6 67.8 19.3 2.1 1,641.4

(a) Disputes, in progress during the calendar year, resulting in stoppages of work of 10 person-days or more at the establishments where the stoppages occurred.

(2) The number of working days lost in industrial disputes in which wages or hours of work were reported to be the major causes, for each State and Territory and for Australia during 1982 and 1983 are:

WORKING DAYS LOST IN INDUSTRIAL DISPUTES (a) CAUSED BY DISAGREEMENT OVER WAGES AND HOURS (PRELIMINARY)('000)

NSW Vic. Qld SA WA Tas. NT ACT Aust.

1982 676.6 257.9 466.2 53.4 43.9 23.0 3.9 11.8 1,536.6 (b) 1983 94.9 74.4 26.8 34.1 46.9 11.5 2.3 0.9 291.8

(a) Disputes resulting in stoppages of work of 10 person-days or more at the establishments where the stoppages occurred. Disputes commencing in a previous calendar year are included. Disputes continuing into the next calendar year are excluded.

(b) Difference between the sum of component items and the total is due to rounding.

(3) The information sought is not collected.

(4) Information about the number of disputes referred to arbitration is not collected. The number of disputes reported as having been settled without arbitration for each State and Territory and for Australia during 1982 and 1983 are:

INDUSTRIAL DISPUTES (a): NUMBER OF DISPUTES SETTLED WITHOUT ARBITRATION ( PRELIMINARY)('000)

NSW Vic. Qld SA WA Tas. NT ACT Aust.

1982 785 225 214 81 395 38 49 16 1,803 1983 647 197 245 70 274 45 61 10 1,549

(a) Disputes resulting in stoppages or work of 10 person-days or more at the establishments where the stoppages occurred. Disputes commencing in a previous calendar year are included. Disputes continuing into the next calendar year are excluded.

(5) There are numerous ways in which the Government can intervene in industrial disputes. For example, it can formally intervene in proceedings before the Australian Conciliation and Arbitration Commission or it can intervene in a dispute by making representations to one of the parties involved. The Department of Employment and Industrial Relations has advised that there were thirteen occasions in 1982 and 1983 when the Federal Government formally intervened in proceedings before the Australian Conciliation and Arbitration Commission. Statistics on other types of intervention are not available.

(6) The Department of Employment and Industrial Relations has advised that many factors may lead to the resolution of a dispute and it would be inappropriate to isolate one factor such as government intervention and conclude that it provided the means for resolution of the dispute.

(7) Information in the form sought in the honourable senator's question is not readily available. To obtain this information would require considerable diversion of resources, which I am not prepared to authorise.