An analysis of decline in union membership in Australia

Type: Individual Report

Wordcount: 2000 (10% +/-)

Scenario: You are a researcher working for Senator the Hon Tony Burke, Federal Minister for Employment and Workplace
Relations. Senator Burke has asked you to undertake some research on trends in union membership in Australia. He has just returned from a meeting of the Australian Council of Trade Unions (ACTU), where he learned that Union membership in Australia is still experiencing a decline. Politics aside, he is keen to find out what factors are causing this decline and the implication of the decline for labor market regulation in Australia – and for Federal Government policy in this area.

Instruction: Burke has asked you to explore this decline in union membership in Australia and provide a report. In particular, he has asked you to:

  • outline the magnitude of the decline in union membership in Australia over the last 40 years
  • explore the academic research and commentaries to outline the four main antecedents (or causes) of this decline in trade union membership
  • discuss the implications of these findings for the process of collective bargaining in Australia.

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