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.