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Charles Gamba and the influence of Australia on the system of arbitration in Singapore
conference contributionposted on 06.12.2017, 00:00 by Gordon Stewart, C Leggett
Following the end of the Second World War Singapore’s industrial relations were regulated by pre-war ordinances that had already been gazetted in some British colonies, as early as 1926 in India and Burma. In 1960, the self-government of Singapore appointed Dr Charles Gamba to the presidency of a newly established Industrial Arbitration Court. Gamba, from the University of Western Australia, had researched the origins of trade unions in Malaya while a lecturer in economics at the University of Malaya in Singapore, and had served as an assessor or advisor on industrial tribunals in the region. It is known that, through the Colombo Plan, an Australian Government legal officer was seconded to the Government of Singapore where he drafted Singapore’s Industrial Relations Act 1960 that established the Industrial Arbitration Court. The 1960 Act comprehensively regulated Singapore’s hitherto turbulent industrial relations with a complementary relationship between British-type collective bargaining and Australian-type compulsory arbitration. This paper examines and assesses the extent of the Australian influence on arbitration in Singapore and thereby adds to the literature on cross-national institutional influences on national industrial relations.