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Industrial disputes

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Federal Minister for Employment and Industrial Relations

Ralph W illis MR


5 November 1984

The latest industrial disputes statistics reflect a continuation of the marked improvement in the industrial situation since the Hawke Labor Government came to power, the Minister for Employment and Industrial Relations, Mr Ralph Willis, said today.

The Australian Bureau of Statistics figures on industrial disputes, which were released today, showed nearly one quarter fewer working days were lost over the year ending August 1984 than were lost over the same period 12 months earlier.

The figures were almost two thirds less than for the same period two years earlier.

Mr Willis said that the number of working days lost over the year to August was the lowest for that period in sixteen years, and was less than half the average number lost in the seven years of Fraser Government.

"What is remarkable about the figures in that this record low level of industrial disputes has occurred over a period of record economic growth and significant improvements in the employment market.

"Such periods of growth are usually accompanied by an increase in industrial disputation and rising inflation," Mr Willis said.

"The fact that this Government has simultaneously cut unemployment, industrial disputation and inflation is testimony to the success of the Government’s Prices and

Incomes Accord with the trade union movement."

Mr Willis said that it wou be foolish to imagine that the small increase in working days lost between the months of July and August, which was less than 3 per cent, indicated the start of any return to the widespread industrial disputation of the Fraser years.

Parliament House, Canberra A C T. 2600 1-2-466 March 83

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"Figures for individual months are highly variable and the monthly increase during August was more than accounted for by the XPT driver dispute in NSW, and a job security dispute involving Australian National Railways in South Australia."

"The long term trend is clearly towards and industrial environment much calmer than was the case under the previous coalition Government, and infinitely most stable than would be the case if the Opposition, which is committed to

abolishing the present system of wage fixing and dispute settlement, was ever elected to office.

"All the Opposition policies can offer are a renewed wages explosion and a return to industrial chaos."