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The need for greater employee participation



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Ψ Ι Minister for ProductivityMedia Release

Date 17 A ugust 1979

Number 79

THE NEED FOR GREATER EMPLOYEE PARTICIPATION

(S ta te m e n t by th e M in is te r f o r P r o d u c t i v i t y , Mr Ia n Macphee)

The s te a d y developm ent o f a g re e d v iew s on em ployee p a r t i c i p a t i o n betw een

e m p lo y e rs , u n io n s and governm ents was welcomed to d a y by Mr Ia n M acphee, M in is te r f o r P r o d u c t i v i t y . He in s ta n c e d th e. ex p an d in g a r e a o f agreem ent

b e tw e e n .th e F e d e r a l and. S outh A u s t r a li a n G overnm ents on em ployee p a r t i c i p a t i o n a s an i n d i c a t i o n t h a t th e i s s u e s in v o lv e d w ere so im p o rta n t th e y tra n s c e n d e d

p a r ty p o l i t i c s and p a r t i c u l a r a l l e g i a n c e s .

Mr Macphee was s p e a k in g i n A d e la id e a t a se m in a r on Human R eso u rces Management o rg a n is e d j o i n t l y by th e D epartm ent o f P r o d u c t i v i t y 's SA R e g io n a l O ffic e and

th e SA Government U n it f o r I n d u s t r i a l Democracy.

Mr Macphee s a i d t h a t i f th e v a r y in g ly e x p re s s e d p o l i c i e s a r e im plem ented i n a

way c o n s i s t e n t w ith th e t r i p a r t i t e ap p ro ach i t w i l l be a s ig n o f m a tu r ity i n

th e A u s t r a li a n i n d u s t r i a l com m unity. In s h o r t , em ployee p a r t i c i p a t i o n o u g h t ,

to b e a non p a r ty p o l i t i c a l i s s u e i n w hich th e p r i n c i p a l c o n c e p ts a r e -

u n d e rs to o d and em braced by u n io n s , em p lo y ees, m anagem ent, em ployer o r g a n is a t io n s and governm ents r e g a r d l e s s o f th e p h il o s o p h i c a l o r p o l i t i c a l

v a n ta g e p o in ts from w hich th e y s t a r t t h e i r a n a l y s i s o f s o c i a l and econom ic

p ro b le m s. I f t h a t i s n o t so th e n no p o lic y h a s any r e a l chance o f b e in g

s u c c e s s f u l .

Mr Macphee s a id i t was n e i t h e r t r u e n o r f a i r to say A u s t r a li a n s w anted n o th in g

m ore th a n money rew ard s from w ork. A g r e a t many p e o p le w anted more o u t o f t h e i r

jo b s and i f o u r o r g a n is a t io n s f a i l e d o r r e f u s e d to re sp o n d to t h i s n e e d , th e r e

w ould be a s i g n i f i c a n t d e g re e o f jo b d i s s a t i f a c t i o n , a l i e n a t i o n and h o s t i l i t y .

A long w ith th e o th e r w e s te rn i n d u s t r i a l c o u n t r i e s , A u s t r a l i a was moving i n t o an

e r a o f even more r a p id te c h n o lo g ic a l change when we would have to th in k f a r more

s e r i o u s l y ab o u t th e n a t u r e o f many j o b s , th e way i n w hich work i s o rg a n is e d and

p e o p l e 's a t t i t u d e s to w ard s i t .

W hile A u s t r a l i a 's c a p a c ity t o m a in ta in i t s s ta n d a r d o f l i v i n g would depend on

im p ro v in g i t s p o o r p r o d u c t i v i t y p e rfo rm a n c e , t h i s w ould n o t b e a c h ie v e d by

e x h o r ta tio n a lo n e . T o d a y 's i n d u s t r i a l problem s a f f e c t e d a l l A u s t r a li a n s and

th e y co u ld b e s t b e m et by b r id g i n g th e gap b etw een management and em p lo y ees,

by e s t a b l i s h i n g more e f f e c t i v e w o rk in g r e l a t i o n s h i p s and by c r e a tin g

p a r t i c i p a t i v e work e n v iro n m en ts w here em ployees co u ld w ork f o r common g o a ls .

"T h ere i s an u r g e n t need to r e c o n c i l e th e hid eb o u n d an tag o n ism s and th e a r i d

c o n f r o n ta tio n s betw een c a p i t a l and la b o u r , and to b u i l d s tr o n g bonds i n a re a s

o f m u tu a l i n t e r e s t " , Mr Macphee t o l d th e A d e la id e s e m in a r. . .

" I d o n 't a c c e p t t h a t common ground c a n 't b e fo u n d , o r t h a t em ployers and

em ployees m u st alw ays be i n c o n f l i c t on e v e ry a s p e c t o f t h e i r r e l a t i o n s h i p s . .

Nor do~I b e l i e v e t h a t ex trem e view s on t h i s a r e w id e ly h e ld in th e community

/ 2 . .'.

2 -

"We m ust do e v e r y th in g p o s s i b l e to en c o u ra g e em ployers and em ployees to

w ork to g e th e r ; to e s t a b l i s h c o n tin u in g m echanism s o f t h e i r own c h o o sin g

w hich f a c i l i t a t e p a r t i c i p a t i o n , c o o p e r a tio n and t r u s t . "

* * *

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Mrs Anne Simson ■

M i n i s t e r ’s O f f ic e (062) 73 3233

Mr F re d W itsen h u y sen D ep artm en t o f P r o d u c t i v i t y (062) 48 2809