Essays on Employee Voice in Australia Case Study

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The paper "Employee Voice in Australia" is a perfect example of a business case study.   A recent study of Australian health care sector claims that the total number of medical practitioners registered in labour unions is 610,148. This figure means that 57 % of all health practitioners in Australia are registered to a labour union. Despite the fact that the country is one with the highest registered workforce in labour union this, there is a tremendous fall in this number compared to another research carried out a decade ago. Judging by that research, it is evident that the number of health workers registered in labour unions has fallen by 29%.

Therefore, the paper below highlights on employee voice in the Australian healthcare sector. Brief industrial relation on the background of the Australian Health sector Union membership in Australia healthcare workforce has hit a record low in the past decade with just one in nine private-sector health care practitioners choosing to register to a labour union. Similarly, the public – sector healthcare practitioners are also adamant on joining a labour union an issue which has been blamed on the diminishing power and efficiency of labour unions in Australia. In a research carried out in August 2009, it was noted that the number of employees who had joined the labour union in relevance to their main job 1.8 million this is estimated to be 20% of all labour union members in Australia.

This was a tremendous increase of 82,200 new registered workforce personnel’ s from the research carried back in the year 2004. In line with this, it was also noted that there was an increase of 73,100 employees who registered labour union members however they were not in relation to their main job.

This was estimated to make up for 4% of the total labour union members. The health industry recorded the highest employee’ s proportion in the labour unions compared to the country’ s other sectors. It was estimated that this was made up of 45% of the country’ s total labour union membership (Markey, 2007). The Health Service Union is a federated labour union in which most a huge number of Australian health care sector’ s workforces are members. It has branches strategically in every state in Australia with each branch covering different health care workers depending on their state of residence, workplace and occupation.

Before their existences, there were multiple labour unions which seemed not to be effective in their role, therefore, the decision to merge two major labour unions was reached. The two labour unions that were merged to form the Health Service Union were; The Health and Research Employees Association (HREA) and Hospital Employees' Federation (WADDOUPS, 2008). The countries trade union density has been deteriorating gradually from the year 1999 when it was recorded to be 25% to the year 2014 where it has hit a new low of 15.5%.

The significant decline in Union membership in Australia can be blamed on the fact that workers in the country have increasingly become sceptical about the unions and their effectiveness in administering their expected role. This is drawn from the evidently diminishing power of union strength; currently, unions have been secluded in labour policy and law-making them irrelevant.


Blanpain, R., Bromwich, W., Rymkevich, O., Spattini, S. and Aparicio Valdez, L. (2009). The modernization of labour law and industrial relations in a comparative perspective. Austin: Wolters Kluwer Law & Business: Journal of Industrial Relations.

Dundon, T., Campling, J. and Gollan, P. (2005). Bargained Out: Negotiating Without Unions in Australia. Labour Union History journal, (89), p.255.

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Holland, P., Pyman, A., Cooper, B. and Teicher, J. (2011). Employee voice and job satisfaction in Australia: The centrality of direct voice. Human Resource Management journal, 50(1), pp.95-111.

Markey, R. (2007). Non-Union Employee Representation in Australia: A Case Study of the Suncorp Metway Employee Council Inc. (SMEC). Journal of Industrial Relations, 49(2), pp.187-209.

Pyman, A., Cooper, B., Teicher, J. and Holland, P. (2006). A comparison of the effectiveness of employee voice arrangements in Australia. Industrial Relations Journal, 37(5), pp.543-559.

WADDOUPS, C. (2008). Unions and Wages in Australia: Does Employer Size Matter?. Industrial Relations: A Journal of Economy and Society, 47(1), pp.136-144.

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