Saturday, 21 November 2015

Bradon Ellem on Mining and Neo-liberalism

Brandon Ellem. 2015, "Resource Peripheries and Neo-Liberalism: The Pilbara and the Remaking of Industrial Relations in Australia", Australian Geographer, 46 (3), pp. 323-37, doi: 10.1080/00049182.2015.1048587.

Abstract: How mining companies overcome the problems faced by the fixity of resources and how they might come to exercise influence in societies which appear to be mostly post-industrial are complex questions of political geography. This is not least the case for a region such as the Pilbara—an iron ore site isolated from metropolitan centres—in Australia—a country isolated from many global centres and markets. At the same time, local struggles in this resources site have been profoundly influential in the making of a national neoliberal industrial relations agenda. Building on other scholarship on the Pilbara, but here re-emphasising the local scale and the details of work and regulation, provides a way to assess the place's wider importance. The Pilbara is a site of thoroughly transformed industrial relations, from a union space when export mining began in the 1960s to an employer stronghold today. Policy makers delivered changes to facilitate the remaking of employer power in workplaces in and beyond mining. This resource periphery has therefore been central to the remaking of national policy regimes.