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Posted on March 18th, 2013, by

Unions in Australia and their role
Argument: In Australia, unions play an important role in the development of the society.
Evidences: As many original settlers in Australia came from Britain where the trade unions were very popular, they united to form unions in Australia. The first unions were unions of boat builders, bakers, tailors and so on. They appeared in 1848. (Griffin & Svensen, 2002, p.23)
The first trade union was AWU Australian Workers Union. This union was a powerful organization which influenced the Labor Party. (Bray, 2009, p.218)
In 1990s, there were about 76% of workers who joined labor unions in Australia. However, at the beginning of the 21-st century there was a decline in unionization especially in the private sector. The reason is that the majority of the members of unions earn above average wages and those who earn less do not have desire to join the labor unions. (Lansbury & Wailes, 2011, p.122)
Trade unions in Australia played an important role in the industrious relations of the country. Unions protected the rights of workers and fought for the benefits in childcare, social issues, taxation issues and so on.
Australian Council of Trade Unions is the major oldest organization in the country which protects the interests of the employees. This organization consists of 46 small unions which unite about 2 million workers. (Griffin & Svensen, 2002, p.35)

In conclusion, it is necessary to say that trade unions are important institutions of employee representations in the advanced industrial countries but not in the developing ones because developing countries are very often controlled by the state. The trade unions in the developing countries are rather weak to solve all the labor problems of the workers.


Bray, M. et al. (2009) Employment Relations: Theory and Practice. McGraw- Hill. Sydney
Cooke, F.L. (2011) Employment Relations in China in G. Bamper et al. (eds)International and Comparative Employment Relations. Allen & Unwin, Sydney. 5-th edition
Griffin, G. & Svensen, S. (2002) Unions in Australia: Struggling to Survive in P. Fairbrother & G. Griffin (eds). Continuum. London
Lansbury, R. & Wailes, N. (2011)Employment relations in Australia in Bamper, et al. (eds). International and Comparative Employment Relations. Sage, London. 4-th Edition
Lu, Y.,Tao, Z., Wang, Y. (2010) Union Effects on Performance and Employment Relations: Evidence from China. China Economic Review. 21
Tailor, B. & Li, Q. (2007) Is the ACFTU a Union or Does it Matter? Journal of Industrious Relations, 49(5)

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