Construction of an IR wreck

The Gillard government's handling of industrial relations this year has allowed unions to exert dangerous power over businesses – and the construction sector is at greatest risk.

The new industrial relations era ushered in by Julia Gillard has revealed some remarkable changes in the Australian workforce.

Unions that had clear market power in decades gone by have attempted to restore their old positions, where they had control over hiring, shifts and many other aspects of management. Such control was outlawed by the Howard-era legislation.

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