The move to individualism by the Western Australian Education Department
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Employment regulation amongst government school teachers in Western Australia has traditionally been characterised by a collectivist approach, with a major role played by the State School Teachers Union of Western Australia (SSTU). In 1993 a new framework for employment regulation characterised by an individualist approach was introduced when the Western Australian Government passed legislation reflecting the Government's preference for government school teachers to make use of workplace agreements. This paper describes both frameworks of employment regulation and provides an account of the current industrial relations dispute between the SSTU and the Western Australian Education Department.The SSTU has made the strategic decision to try to maintain a collectivist approach to employment regulation. It has indicated its intention to move out of the Western Australian industrial relations system and into the national, or federal, system by filing an application for federal award coverage to counter any move by the Western Australian Education Department to entice teachers onto workplace agreements. The authors point to a number of problems that the SSTU might encounter if the application for a federal award is successful. Given these problems, it may be appropriate that the SSTU accept the inevitable move to individualism and place itself in a strategic position to be a major player in the changing Western Australian industrial relations system. As a major player in the new system, the SSTU will be better able to argue in support of the principles of equity and fairness in its attempts to ensure the continuing quality of education delivered in government schools.
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Working Paper Series 95:04, June 1995
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