The perceived lack of labour flexibility in Australian industries resulted in substantial criticism of Australia's centralised industrial relations system during the 1980s. The existence of awards and the involvement of trade unions were seen as restricting workplace flexibility and resulting in uncompetitive businesses. This argument appeared particularly relevant for industries such as tourism and hospitality. These industries operated outside of standard hours, were subject to severe demand fluctuations and competed in international markets. The criticism of the centralised system resulted in legislative changes taking place at the federal and state levels throughout the 1990s. The introduction of formalised enterprise and individual bargaining was an important feature of the new legislation. Despite the introduction of bargaining legislation the hospitality industry, a perceived beneficiary of a deregulated approach, has not used formalised bargaining to any substantial degree. The inability of enterprise bargaining to have a major impact is understandable considering the level of flexibility the sector possessed under the centralised industrial relations system.
Buultjens, J & Cairncross, G 2001, 'Ten years of enterprise bargaining and the hospitality sector', Labour and Industry, vol. 12, no. 1, pp. 27-41.