Uncertain Future of Australian Trade Unions

            Australian unionism faces decline due to the unfriendly laws of unions, the bargaining enterprise, the managerial hostility and youth indifference. The Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS)shows the continuous decline in the Australian union membership.The efforts of Australian Council of Trade Unions (ACTU) are unable to shop this declination (Fairbrother& Griffin, 2013). This essay intends to discuss the present condition ofAustralian unionism and determines that although the workers will be benefited by the unionism but there is uncertain future of Unionism in Australia.

            The trade union was the central feature of Australia’s social, industrial and political framework from 1901.  The changes in the economy and social attitudes after the Second World War causes rapid decline in the membership levels over the forty years. In 1976, there was 57% of the Australian’s workforce, which declined to 16% of the work force and 9% in the private sectors in 2016. This shows that decrease in the members causes decline in the unionism, thus there is uncertainty of the Australian unionism in future (Wright & Lansbury, 2014).

            The radical changes of the legal rights of unions from 1977 causes the rapid decline of unionism and these changeswere related to the industrial action. It is reflected in the figures shown by Australian Bureau of Statistics, 2016, that the industrial action has been completely disappeared, in comparison with the 1970s and 1980s. This leads to loss of trade union rights, which shows adverse condition of trade union in future. There was general power of trade unions to take the industrial differences to an independent state under Section 99, Industrial Relations Act 1988 and its equivalent State Acts. However, awards were most significant outcome of arbitration; arbitration could also solve the acute disputes (Stockhammer, 2013). The managers or the unions was not sure about the decision of the arbitrator and this means that they often reaches settlement rather than taking any risk of arbitration. Since 2005, due to the work choice legislation (Cregan, 2013). Unions loses the power of taking the merit-baseddisputes to the commission. This loss had reduced the power of unions in workplace, which shows uncertain future of trade unions in Australia.

            However, the unions are increasing their work force although,the less number of employees are joining, and they are trying to motivate employees for joining trade unions. The unionsare trying to regain their power for the change of laws to the government.The successful business could pay their staffs better but creating pressure on the organizationduring their bad times often leads to closure of companies. Thus, disinclination to join the union leads to uncertainty in future of trade unions.

            Therefore, from the above discussion it can be concluded that the Australian trade union are declining due to the unfriendly laws, managerial hostility, less number of members and others. Most of the employees disincline to join the unions although they are motivating employees to join trade union. Employees mostly like torely on the laws made by the government.Thus, there is no such future hope of Australian trade unions.

References

Wright, C. F., & Lansbury, R. D. (2014). Trade unions and economic reform in Australia, 1983–2013. The Singapore Economic Review59(04), 1450033.

Fairbrother, P., & Griffin, G. (2013). Changing prospects for trade unionism. Routledge

Stockhammer, E. (2013). Wage-led Growth: An equitable strategy for economic recovery. Springer.

Cregan, C. (2013). Does workplace industrial action increase trade union membership? An exchange relationship approach to union joining and leaving behaviour. The International Journal of Human Resource Management24(17), 3363-3377.

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