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dc.contributor.authorOliver, Bobbie
dc.identifier.citationOliver, B. 2014. The impact of privatisation on union membership and density: A Western Australian case study. The Economic and Labour Relations Review. 25 (1): pp. 28-46.

Falling membership numbers and declining union density are issues of concern for many Australian unions. Australian Bureau of Statistics figures show that between 2005 and 2008, trade union membership declined from 22.4% to 18.9% of the workforce. Studies and statistics consistently show that union membership and density are lowest in Western Australia, despite trend reversals elsewhere. Using the Western Australian branches of two 'blue-collar' unions - the Australian Rail, Tram and Bus Industry Union, Western Australian Branch and the Australian Manufacturing Workers' Union, covering a range of transport, metal working, printing and manufacturing trades - as examples, this article examines whether privatisation has contributed significantly to falling trade union density and membership in this state. These unions represented large public sector workforces. In order to test the hypothesis that privatisation has adversely affected union membership and density, the article examines three areas: changing policies in the Australian Labor Party, the breaking down of union culture and changes in trade training, and concludes that privatisation is a significant factor in the recent decline of these two unions.

dc.publisherSage Publications Ltd.
dc.subjectunion security
dc.subjectEducation and training
dc.subjectindustrial relations
dc.subjecttrade unions
dc.titleThe impact of privatisation on union membership and density: A Western Australian case study
dc.typeJournal Article
dcterms.source.titleThe Economic and Labour Relations Review
curtin.departmentSchool of Media, Culture and Creative Arts
curtin.accessStatusOpen access

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