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Bargained Out

Bargained Out

Negotiating without unions in Australia

By John Campling and Paul Gollan


The pursuit of non-employee relations and human resource strategies by private and public sector employers has been a consistent theme of the industrial landscape in Australia in the past decade. This book analyses the organisational impact of such changes and focuses on their motivations, processes and outcomes in lightly and non-unionised workplaces.

The book draws primarily on 12 case studies whose major outcomes were the nature of the non-union agreements, productivity, remuneration and workplace equity. The case studies revealed a number of positive outcomes for both employers and employees. On the other hand, there was evidence that the shift to lightly or non-unionised  workplaces represented an attempt by corporate Australia to manage without the constraints imposed by trade union activity, and to capture anticipated reductions in labour costs and improvements in productivity.

The study also draws on a wealth of recent quantitative survey information on Australian workplaces conducted by the Australian Government and independent university-based research organisations such as the Australian Centre for Industrial Relations Research and Training (ACIRRT). While unique in its utilisation of a multi-dimensional analysis of lightly and non-unionised workplaces in Australia, it also links these developments with broader trends in the global economy towards greater non-union employee relations and human resource management.

The book clearly has important policy implication. Governments, employers, employees and trade unions will need to develop appropriate macro- and micro-level policies and practices to respond to a more heterogeneous and diverse employee relations landscape. Students, researchers and professional managers interested in employee relations, human resources and the management of organisation change will find this book both illuminating and relevant.


Part I Introduction
The growth of non-union employee relations in Australia

Part II Employee relations: processes and mechanisms
Consultation and employee involvement
Alternative forms of employee representation
Bargaining power and negotiations

Part III Employee relations: outcomes
Non-union agreements
Workplace productivity, performance and equity

Part IV Conclusion
A review of current developments in lightly and non-unionised workplaces

Bibliography/ Index


This book is commendable. The data is comprehensive and the arguments whet the appetite for future debate and discussion there is a lot to commend in this book.

Tony Dundon, Labour History 89, November 2005

"It is important that we find out what is actually going on in workplaces across Australia. … Good case study materials such as that provided here by Campling and Gollan offers the necessary insights into the diversity and contradictions which are at the heart of workplace relations in Australia."

International Journal of Employment Studies Vol 9 No 1 (2001)


Published December 1999
Publisher The Federation Press
ISBN 9781862873469
Australian RRP $49.50
International Price $45.00
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Out of print

Industrial Relations / EEO

Workplace Research Centre

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