Decent Work in Western Australia

Summary

Decent work is productive work for men and women in conditions involving human dignity, security, equity, and freedom. The International Labor Organization (ILO) considers work decent when it ensures employment security and safe working conditions (European Commission, 2022). It further provides equal treatment and opportunities for everyone involved. ILO’s definition of decent work promotes social protection for the employees and their families. It encourages personal development and prospects for social integration while ensuring workers freely express concerns and organize their activities prudently. This briefing note aims to provide the human resource director with information on decent work. It provides insights and observations concerning the potential influence of decent work on the workplace environment in Western Australia’s mining industry.

Background

International labor relations dictate that promoting decent work at the workplace is an essential concept for an organization seeking sustainable development. Individuals with quality and decent working conditions enjoy lesser poverty and inequalities. They empower individuals, particularly women, recently employed young people, and persons with disabilities, the most vulnerable groups in society. The organization supports its human resource department when making decisions related to promoting job opportunities that offer decent payment and ensuring staff is safe while further propagating mechanisms that ensure worker rights and social protection. Australia is relatively progressive in terms of decent work, exhibiting a high GDP as posited by other developed economies.

Western Australia has various industries, such as mining, that elicit many job opportunities. Some places such as Perth benefited from the 2002 mining boom in Western Australia but have seen a decline in activity in recent years (Maxwell, 2018). They are stable and rich with many offerings such as opportunities in beaches, surfing, and sporting events while providing a rich cultural area to work. This is consistent across many areas in Western Australia, ensuring sustainable development as such places are shielded from economic downturns. For instance, Perth’s unemployment rate stands at 4%, a relatively low value compared to most developed economies or other Australian regions as the country provides unemployment benefits to ensure food security to these people (Temple et al., 2019). Individuals living in Western Australia are part of the highest-income earners in the country. People working in mines are likely to fly in and out of the cities for weeks at a time, incurring about $160,000 annually (Foo & Salim, 2022). This is a significant amount that demonstrates their high income and Western Australia’s prominence as an advocate for decent salary.

Implications

Strong Economic Growth

Ensuring a large population has decent work and promotes inclusive and more robust economic growth. Better growth means the organization has more resources to create decent employment opportunities. As people’s purchasing power grows, they fuel the expansion of sustainable businesses and smaller organizations that gain the potential to hire more people while boosting their pay conditions. In this way, the promotion of one person in the workplace has a butterfly effect that boosts the economic potential of a large group of people. The human resource director should consider the connection between worker morale and decent work as they have a strong positive correlation (Foo & Salim, 2022). An individual is likely to work harder and smarter for an employer that does not limit their economic development. If a person feels like they are using a lot of energy while stagnating in their personal lives, they would likely get frustrated and work the bare minimum as the work does not seem to bear fruit. A decent workplace ensures strong economic growth for employees and their families.

Healthcare

A healthy workforce in decent working conditions would boost the productive capacity of the organization. In contrast, if the company were to alleviate medical care or fail to address workplace injury or illnesses, these individuals are unlikely to stay at the organization or become poor. Similarly, the healthcare system is experiencing a boom in its worldwide workforce that require decent working conditions to provide universal access to healthcare. Western Australia’s workforce is predominantly located in the mining industry, where workplace injuries are more likely to occur than in other industries. Mining shafts can collapse, or people may inhale toxic materials used in mineral extraction (Sodhi-Berry et al., 2017). However, the focus on healthcare leads businesses to offer protective gear to these individuals while ensuring the security of mining shafts to prevent collapse. Mitigating disasters boost workers’ morale and trust in the organization while reducing the risk of litigation by workers injured while performing their duties.

Gender Inequality

One of the most challenging issues for organizations in Western Australia’s mining industry involves gender-based harassment and violence against women. This issue may take various forms, such as domestic violence, intimate partner violence, sexual exploitation and harassment, and verbal abuse. Incidents involving gender and sexual-based violence are higher in small-scale and artisanal mining communities if various factors such as a non-existent or weak authority, absence of police, a large section of men working far from their families, or harmful misogynistic beliefs exist (Australia Associated Press, 2022). Women in the mining industry face discrimination and should be protected to prevent these incidences (Helbert, 2017). Decent work ensures gender equality and eliminates discrimination within the region.

Additionally, some communities in Western Australia face gender inequality related to cultural norms that propagate women’s subordination. In this way, most women employed by mining organizations or offering products or services to these operators are likely to face jealousy and resistance from men who do not believe women should have independence (Australia Associated Press, 2022). It is crucial to note that many companies have lax policies supporting women and protecting them from gender-based harassment. These policies do not provide a straightforward methodology to deal with these issues when they arise.

Recommendation

The employer should provide a form of a 401-k scheme to its workforce. This system involves the employer’s contributions to their employees’ pension scheme to ensure they have retirement benefits once they stop working. This industry primarily involves difficult work that older people cannot participate in without risking bodily harm. In this way, developing a pension scheme allows them to save money for the future. It further promotes organizational cohesion as people discern their employee is concerned about their future, boosting workplace identity and a sense of belonging. These people are likely to work better and more efficiently to ensure they do not lose employment and gain the maximum benefits before retiring. It further promotes a financially stable elderly population as they have sufficient savings to offer comfort in their twilight years.

The mining industry should promote occupational health service provision as they advise employers on optimal ways to improve working conditions. Individuals working in primary health centers may offer various necessary interventions to protect employees’ health, such as detecting occupational illnesses and surveilling workers. This is due to the focus being on medical treatment instead of prevention. Large companies should provide workers with regular medical checkups to prevent the late detection of health problems. Additionally, healthcare workers should campaign for employers to encapsulate pollution sources and provide adequate ventilation and noise control to boost employee wellbeing.

Employers should develop stricter regulations on gender-based violence. Individuals propagating these actions should face legal consequences and unemployment without benefits. A legal framework should define specific actions and gestures that could be interpreted as offensive (Turnbull, 2022). Individuals that conduct some actions unknowingly should be subjected to vocational sensitivity training without pay. It is crucial to include penalties when making these assertions as they would have a more significant impact as people would consider actions more if they had economic ramifications. Security measures to protect people at the workplace, including surveillance cameras and a complaint hotline to ensure the human resource department responds to each case promptly (Jones, 2020). Finally, it is prudent to discern whether victims of abuse require psychological counseling to get past their ordeal as a further measure for this form of discrimination and violence.

Communication Strategy

Stakeholders to the information briefing would get this report through an industry social media campaign promoting decent work. This is the most cost-effective method to propagate information to stakeholders in the mining industry and serves to provide important information (Chen & Wang, 2021). The communication design further enables these individuals to conduct in-depth and lengthy conversations that address any potential gaps evidenced in the recommendations offered in the briefing. The inclusion of extraneous information derived from all stakeholders provides an over-arching document that addresses any concerns held by the different groups within the mining industry in Western Australia. A decent workplace is integral for organizational development as people gain economic and health benefits. These issues allow them to function optimally in society and avoid gender and sexual harassment in the workplace.

References

Australia Associated Press. (2022). Predatory sexual behaviour rife in wa mining industry, report finds. The Guardian.

Britannica. (n.d.). Economy of Western Australia. Encyclopædia Britannica.

Bezzina, A., Austin, E. K., Watson, T., Ashton, L., & James, C. L. (2021). Health and wellness in the Australian Coal Mining Industry: A cross sectional analysis of baseline findings from the reshape workplace wellness program. PLoS ONE, 16(6).

Chen, J., & Wang, Y. (2021). Social media use for health purposes: Systematic Review. Journal of Medical Internet Research, 23(5).

European Commission. (2022). Employment and decent work. International Partnerships.

Foo, N., & Salim, R. (2022). The evolution of mining employment during the resource boom and bust cycle in Australia. Mineral Economics, 35(2), 309–324.

Jones, O. (2020). Health surveillance for the mining sector – opportunities for better management and Oversight. AusIMM.

Helbert, M. (2017). Australian women in mining: Still a harsh reality. Feminist Ecologies, 231–246.

Maxwell, P. (2018). The end of the mining boom? A Western Australian perspective. Mineral Economics, 31(1-2), 153–170.

Sodhi-Berry, N., Reid, A., Fritschi, L., Musk, A. B., Vermeulen, R., De Klerk, N., & Peters, S. (2017). Cancer incidence in the Western Australian mining industry (1996-2013). Cancer epidemiology, 49. 8-18. Web.

Temple, J., Booth, S., & Pollard, C. (2019). Social assistance payments and food insecurity in Australia: Evidence from the household expenditure survey. International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health, 16(3), 455.

Turnbull, T. (2022). Sexual harassment at Western Australia Mines ‘appalling and Systemic’. BBC News.

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BusinessEssay. 2023. "Decent Work in Western Australia." August 6, 2023. https://business-essay.com/decent-work-in-western-australia/.

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