Decline in union membership in Australia

Project Description:

1000 word essay

Harvard or APA refernecing

Essay Question:

Union membership has declined in Australia as it has in other advanced economies over recent years. It has been said that the decline appears to have been caused more by global factors such as the shift from manufacturing to services and technological change rather than local factors such as legislative change. Do you agree? Why? Why not? Based on your analysis suggest what trade unions can do to halt the decline.


The aim of this assessment task is to get you to think and argue critically and analytically about the question of whether local or global factors or both are responsible for the decline in union membership and what trade unions can do to address the decline.

You are required to use 5 academic references to support your answer.

Elements you might consider in answering the question

These suggestions are neither comprehensive nor are intended to limit your approach to the question. You need to consider these and other factors, which we will have covered by the time the plan is due, in considering employees' interests and trends in unionism in your answer:

The organization of work: employee bargaining power; employee representation; employee involvement; why employees might need or want a voice in the workplace and the effects on workers of the shift from traditional long term employment to more market-based and casualized contracts, involving more frequent changes of employer.

Trade unions: theories of the labour movement and their explanations – do they help us understand how employees' rights and interests might be protected? Are unions in a position to combat the local and global influences causing union membership to decline?

The state: how does the state preserve, protect, or undermine employees' interests and rights? How does the state impact on the balance of power between workers and employees?

Skills: Research Writing

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