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Industrial relations in Australia is undergoing considerable change The counterpart organisations to unions for employees are of course employer associations This paper argue that employer associations exist to provide to employers services to enable them to cope with the demands of unions and the complexities of employing staff in terms of wages to be paid and other legal obligations under awards health and safety legislation workers compensation provisions and other industrial legislation Markers notes Employer associations consist of groups of employers who represent and participate on behalf of their members They combine their activities to protect their mutual interest and objectives These associations can either be reactive or proactive However employer associations have a wide range of functions covering both trade and industrial matters such as information publicity promotion finance education and research trade regulations and political lobbying Deery and Plowman 1985182-3 Employer associations deal with industrial relations issues affecting their members A distinction can in practice be made between employer organisations and employer associations Not all employer organisations are concerned with industrial relations issues Those which are are referred to as employer associations Deery and Plowman op cit p191 Thus employer associations are a particular form of employer organisation In essence employer organisations developed to provide services which individual employers could not provide nearly as easily More specifically employer organisations were developed to fulfil a number of aims The aim of employer groups are varied The first is to regulate trade and competition by mutual agreement The second is to seek statutory protection in trade particularly concerning imports The third is to provide services in the fields of industrial relations and personnel administration The fourth is to lobby within the political arena in opposition to social legislation concerning for example minimum pay laws reduced hours of work and in Australia the establishment of conciliation and arbitration tribunals Windmuller 19841 The maze of employer associations in Australia is quite complex and
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