Portal:Organized Labour

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The purpose of organized labour is for workers to form "a continuous association of wage-earners for the purpose of maintaining or improving the conditions of their employment".

This is primarily achieved by use of the technique of collective bargaining, where labour organizations negotiate wages and working conditions with employers. Closely related is the concept of industrial action, in which an organization will call strikes and resist lockouts. Another characteristic of labour organizations are the provision of benefits for members, such as unemployment insurance, health insurance, pensions, funeral expenses, job training, and legal services. Organizations also often carry out political campaigns, lobbying, and support political candidates or parties. Operating costs are covered by the payment of dues and fees by members, with the expectation that the money be spent to benefit the membership.

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Organized Labour Article of the Day for March 21, 2017

Three certified agreements case
Coat of Arms of Australia.svg
Court Australian Industrial Relations Commission
Full case name Re: Rural City of Murray Bridge Nursing Employees, ANF (Aged Care) – Enterprise Agreement 2004 (18 March 2005 PR956575).
Decided 21 March 2005
Citation(s) PR956575
Case history
Prior action(s) '
Subsequent action(s) none
Case opinions

The case determined what did and did not pertain. It concluded:

  • Trade union right of entry "pertains to the relationship between employer and employee".
  • Salary sacrifice "pertains to the relationship between employer and employee".
  • Setting conditions for employees of labour hire "pertains to the relationship between employer and employee".
  • Recognition of delegates "pertains to the relationship between employer and employee".
  • Payroll deductions for union dues "do not pertain to the relationship between employer and employee".
  • Trade union training leave "pertains to the relationship between employer and employee".
Court membership
Judge(s) sitting Guidice, Lawler, Ross

The three certified agreements case was a decision of the Australian Industrial Relations Commission that resolved the confusion created by the High Court's decision of Electrolux v AWU.


The three certified agreements case, or In Re Schefenacker, the Australian Nursing Federation and the Rural City of Murray Bridge, was a case that combined appeals from decisions of a single commissioner not to certify enterprise agreements, as it was believed that the agreements contained clauses that did not pertain to the relationship between employer and employee:

  • The Murray Bridge Enterprise Bargaining Agreement
  • The Schefenacker Vision Systems Enterprise Bargaining Agreement
  • The La Trobe University Enterprise Bargaining Agreement


The decision was necessary to clarify the High Court of Australia's decision Electrolux v AWU, which caused much uncertainty existed on could be placed into enterprise bargaining agreements.


The decision was handed down on 21 March 2005.The case got major attention around Australia. It was one of the longest-awaited decisions in industrial relations law, as industrial relations professionals had awaited clarification of Electrolux of the High Court of Australia for over five months. [1]

It is commonly regarded as the final landmark decision of the Australian Industrial Relations Commission. (That is before its wage setting, award formation and agreement certification powers were removed from it by the WorkChoices reform in 2006.)


The case dealt with whether a large number of union-friendly provisions such as these:

  • union training leave
  • the recognition of delegates
  • right of entry
  • salary sacrifice
  • use of labour hire (and setting or terms of conditions for labour hire)

The case decided that the matters (in certain forms) could be included into enterprise agreements (and awards would have been followed). It was generally accepted as a major union victory. [2]

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Selected Quote

"There is a dawn approaching that is indicating and shouting to us that it's our moment. But we've got to seize that moment and use what we know so well—how to organize and, fundamentally, how to fight!"

-- Tony Mazzocchi, speech to the 1998 convention of the United Electrical, Radio and Machine Workers of America

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