The paper "The Decline in Trade Unionism in Australia " is a perfect example of a macro & microeconomics case study. The decline in trade unionism in Australia has resulted in decreasing events of industrial actions by workers in Australia. Most authors argue the decline of the movement has been precipitated by the rise of a new economic order that gives preference to a company’ s ability to compete above all other issues. The welfare of workers thus takes backstage to enhance the competitiveness of organizations in liberalized markets. Indeed the majority of Australia unionized workers come from the public sectors which are not involved in a competitive market rivalry.
Recently, however, the actions of several trade unions in Australia have led to the grounding of the Qantas fleet. This has refocused attention as to why the popularity of trade unions in Australia has waned and continues to decline with time. This paper explores the main reasons that have been given by various stakeholders and scholars as having contributed to the decline of trade union density in recent times. In the first section, the paper traces the decline in trade union density back to the 1980s.
Secondly, the paper analyzes how the forces of globalization alongside other local factors have contributed to declining membership in Australian trade unions. Finally, the paper concludes that the forces of globalization in the form of structural change, government policy and employer policy are the main reasons for declining trade union membership. Discussion According to data by the Australian Bureau of Statistics, the decline in membership of trade unions is more pronounced in Australia than in other western economies. According to Ost (2009), the union estimates 57.2 per cent of Australian workers were unionized in 1982 but by 1990 this number had declined to 54 per cent of unionized workers.
However, the union estimates are influenced by the optimistic figures for trade unionism. Official ABS statistics put the union figures in 1982 at 48.2 which also declined to 40.5 per cent in 1990 (Ost, 2009).
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