Industrial democracy is the involvement of staff in making decisions
(through structures and processes) which involve the sharing of
authority and responsibility in the workplace.
Benefits of Industrial Democracy
Less industrial disputes resulting from better communication
between management and staff.
Improved decision making processes resulting in higher quality
Increased creativity, enthusiasm and commitment to Corporate
Lowered stress and increased wellbeing.
Better use of time and resources.
Improved productivity including service delivery.
Increased job satisfaction resulting in reduced absenteeism.
Improved personal fulfilment and self esteem.
There are Two Forms of Industrial Democracy
Representative and participative
Some examples of participative activities:
1. Regular meetings with:
An agenda collected from staff
A rotating chairperson, and
Discussion about sectional work allocation, maintenance and
2. Group discussion before decisions are made.
3. Active promotion of an involved team environment.
4. Participative redesign of jobs or work systems.
Some examples of representative activities:
1. The formation of committees and consultative forums consisting of
staff and/or union representatives.
2. The formation of working groups of staff and/or union
representatives to analyse and make recommendations about
specific issues. These can be 'occasional' Agency bargaining groups
or 'standing' such as the OH&S committee.
3. Setting up channels for continuous communication between
management, unions and staff.
In relation to point 3, the Library’s peak representative body is the
Consultative Council. Following ratification of the Library’s certified
agreement on 16 October 1998, revised consultative arrangements
will be introduced. Specifically, the arrangement provides for
employee representatives (as well as union and management) to be
included in Consultative Council proceedings. Clause 121 of the
certified agreement provides that the (new) consultative committee
a) 5 management representatives
b) 3 union representatives
c) 1 employee elected representative for each Divisions of the
Library (initially 4 elected representatives)
The terms of reference for the new arrangements are:
d) to provide a forum for consultation and open discussion between
management, employees and unions, and ton aim to resolve any
differences on those matters in a mutually acceptable manner;
e) to promote effective industrial relations in the Library;
f) to facilitate mutual exchange of information.
The title of the consultative forum will also change from Consultative
Council to Consultative Committee.
A central feature of the revised arrangements is the inclusion of
employee representatives. Divisions will nominate representatives by
way of a selection exercise. Three Division representatives will be
selected to enable a standing deputy arrangement and to provide
coverage in circumstances where the principal representative is
The method for selection will be left to Divisions to determine, with
the proviso that nominations must be supported by the majority of
Division staff. Unions will be similarly asked to nominate a total of 3
The role for the Division representatives will be to:
bring Division specific perspectives to issues tabled/discussed
address issues with a view to mutually agreeable solutions
maintain a corporate perspective in terms of strategic and
provide feedback to their Division regarding Consultative