Industry Opportunities, Competitiveness and the Changing Structive of Work

Organization: The Australasian Institute of Mining and Metallurgy
Pages: 2
Publication Date: Jan 1, 1992
Presidential Address Today I want to couple that prediction with a discussion on competitiveness and changing employment roles in our industry. A crude analysis of the intensity of use of metals in developed and undeveloped nations was undertaken by dividing the weight of copper, zinc, lead and aluminium used in countries by the population. In the developed countries which were basically the Western European States, USA, Canada, Australia and Japan, approximately 38 kilograms are used per annum. In the developing countries which were basically the South-East Asian country Korea, India, Pakistan and Taiwan, the usage is 5.3 kilograms. Thus, if the developing world is to catch up with the developed world, the intensity of use of metals will have to increase seven times. The usage of metals in the developed world is increasing at the rate of 1.5 per cent per annum while the rate of increase in the developing world is about 5.8 per cent. In this analysis, the population of the developed world was 850 million and the developing world 1.5 billion. Note that this analysis did not include Russia, China and most of the countries of South America and South Africa. I am sure that with time, these undeveloped countries will move into the developing category. In the long-term there is obviously great opportunity for us both in the primary and secondary processing required to meet world demand. Turning now to competitiveness and changing employment roles. I am sure that everyone here present is aware of the urgent need for Australia to improve its competitiveness. I want to try and relate unionism and industrial relations, management and tertiary education to our competitiveness. I wish to talk on these items as I see them in the past, the present and the future. So firstly unionism and industrial relations. It has been unfortunate for Australia that unionism was based on the United Kingdom craft system. It is not surprising that it was because UK has been the basis for almost ' all of our institutions and that has generally been of very great value to us. The craft system in our trade unions has lead to the demarcation problems of which we have all been well aware. This has been extremely limiting to the individual; it has limited his or her ability to broaden their scope of knowledge and far worse it has limited their ability to maximise their satisfaction at work as they have only been able to undertake part of a job, rather than being able to undertake a role in totality.
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