Trade Unions in Australia

Decent Essays
Decline In Union Membership In Australia TOPIC – The major issue tody facing the Australian trade union movement has been the decline in union density. What have been the causes, and how have the unions responded to the challenge. Figures released by the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) in 2000, show that the decline in Australian union membership continues, despite the efforts of the Australian Council of Trade Unions (ACTU), to stop the slide. The ABS reports that trade union membership has dropped to 28 percent of the total workforce, compared to 1992, where there was 40 percent. (Australian Bureau of Statistics 2000.) Previous ABS findings show that these recent figures are part of a general trend, with no slight recovery…show more content…
The Accord, may have expanded the opportunities for individuals, both unionists and non-unionists to benefit from the agreement (Deery et al, 2000). Another factor contributing to the decline in unionisation rate is the changing attitudes towards unions. A number of writers have highlighted the downward shift in community support for unions across the industrial world. In Australia, public opinion polls show that unions are seen as being too powerful and unresponsive to members needs (Deery et al, 2000). Such perceptions and beliefs have supported the decline. A survey carried out by McNair Anderson Polling Agency and Sentry Holdings show that only 6 per cent of those surveyed have confidence in unions, and more than 45 per cent of union members surveyed have ‘hardly any’ confidence in union leaders. More and more Australians are refusing to join unions. There is the feeling amongst employees that they are just no longer required. The tradition of being a unionist is fading. Fewer fathers are encouraging their children to become members (Short, 1992). The role of management in organisations has been another damaging factor to the decline. Job satisfaction, whereby benefits are provided by the employers to keep the employees happy. The theory being that content employees need not be
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