Workers’ Participation in Australian Workplaces: Past Legacies and Current Practices

  • Russell D. LansburyEmail author


In Australia, strategic choices made by governments, employers, and trade unions in relation to workers’ participation have been strongly influenced by the legal framework of the industrial relations system (IRS). The foundation of the current system was laid in the early 1900s with the adoption of compulsory arbitration of industrial disputes and the establishment of federal and state industrial tribunals to administer the system. However, since the mid-1980s, as the Australian economy opened to international competition, the centralized system of arbitration has been gradually dismantled. The current enterprise-based or decentralized system of workplace relations has been accompanied by a significant decline in overall union membership which has impeded the development of formal systems of worker participation. It remains to be seen if the new form of more individualized employment relations will create opportunities for workers’ participation to flourish in the future.


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Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Sydney University Business SchoolThe University of SydneySydneyAustralia

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