Journal Article

From Batons to Negotiated Management: The Transformation of Policing Industrial Disputes in Australia

David Baker

in Policing: A Journal of Policy and Practice

Volume 1, issue 4, pages 390-402
Published in print January 2007 | ISSN: 1752-4512
Published online November 2007 | e-ISSN: 1752-4520 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/police/pam053
From Batons to Negotiated Management: The Transformation of Policing Industrial Disputes in Australia

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Although historically there was no formal policy of repressing strikers, police in Australia usually responded swiftly and aggressively to employer demands to quell industrial unrest and thereby facilitated workplace access for staff and strikebreakers. Despite numerous violent confrontations between police and picketers, there was virtually no accountability of police actions. In recent decades, a much more sophisticated and professional relationship has evolved between police and unions. This article contends that contemporary procedures and negotiations, which have limited the amount of violence at picket-lines, have benefited both the union movement and the police. As illustrated by the case study of the large-scale 1998 national maritime dispute, contemporary policing tactics usually comprise a low-key, non-confrontational and peace-keeping approach. However, modern police authorities, who maintain the latent capacity to use coercion including riot technology, remain resolute and determined to control major industrial strife, but preferably by negotiation and persuasion.

Journal Article.  6200 words. 

Subjects: Policing

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