Trade Union Renewal in Australia: rebuilding worker involvement

Steven Miles (2011). Trade Union Renewal in Australia: rebuilding worker involvement PhD Thesis, School of Political Science & Internat'l Studies, The University of Queensland.

       
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Author Steven Miles
Thesis Title Trade Union Renewal in Australia: rebuilding worker involvement
School, Centre or Institute School of Political Science & Internat'l Studies
Institution The University of Queensland
Publication date 2011-02
Thesis type PhD Thesis
Supervisor Professor Paul Boreham
Professor Roger Scott
Total pages 266
Total black and white pages 266
Subjects 16 Studies in Human Society
Abstract/Summary In recent decades Australian trade unions have struggled to overcome a number of challenges, including a rapidly changing policy environment, a societal focus on the individual over the collective, declining membership and aggressively hostile employers and governments. This experience is mirrored in New Zealand, the USA and United Kingdom. However, unions remain important societal institutions who bring considerable good for their members. The dominant strategic response by unions to this experience has been to embrace what has been termed an “organising approach”. Such an approach can be characterised as less reliant on institutional recognition and legislative protection and more focused on building workplace activism. Unions are directing their time and considerable financial resources to train and mobilise their members to be more active in their union. This thesis records the findings of a four stage research program into activism in Australian trade unions. The substantial findings are based on survey data analysis of two datasets from Australian trade unions, the Queensland Public Sector Union and the Liquor, Hospitality and Miscellaneous Workers Union. The analysis first considers the different ways members are active, and in doing so develops a participation rating comprising four dimensions: Representational activities, Collective action, Talking Union and Giving advice. Factor analysis confirms the activities relevant to each of the four dimensions. Multivariate regression analysis is used to determine which variables, including demographic, environmental and union behaviours, increase or decrease member involvement. A second stage regression analysis considers whether the determinants vary for each of the dimensions. Important findings relate to gender, the complex role played by organisers and delegates, the importance of positive attitudes towards the organisation, density, political attitudes and political and community activism. Confirmatory analysis using the second datasets confirms many of the findings as they relate specifically to the experience of union delegates. Implications of the findings for understanding of union member behaviour and better informing union strategy are made.
Keyword Industrial Relations & Labor
Social change -- Australia

 
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Created: Tue, 27 Sep 2011, 18:20:48 EST by Mr Steven Miles on behalf of Library - Information Access Service