Trade Unions Essay Research Paper WHAT DO — страница 3

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seen to understand the plight of their workers. In a union, the members are made up of the workers, and the leader is usually voted by the members, therefore, the interests of the workers will be understood. The last reason that will be explained is that of ideological reasons. This means that since the unions have been supporting the workers for quite a long time, there is a certain ideology that they have to join otherwise they will lose their jobs, lose benefits etc. After explaining what unions do, explaining why employees join union, the last part of this essay will be explaining the future of unions. When looking at the future of the unions, the first thing that must be noted is the downward spiral of union membership. A STATISTICAL SNAPSHOT OF AUSTRALIAN UNIONISM Union

Membership: + 35% of the total workforce are union members, compared with 50% in 1982 and 42% in 1988. + Since 1988, membership among labourers, plant machinists and drivers, and tradespersons has fallen be 10 percentage points in each case. + Currently they are: 157 unions, compared with 188 a year earlier, 299 in 1989 and 323 in 1985. 2.9 million financial members of unions, compared with a total 3 million members a year earlier. Only 19% of teenage employees belonging to unions and 27% of those aged 20-24. Sources: ABS 6321.0, 6322.0 (industrial disputes) These figures clearly show that union membership is decreasing, as is the mount of unions. David Clarke, in his economic briefs of 1996 says It is now dominated by 13 mega unions with membership in the hundreds of thousands

and possess millions of dollars in assets. (Clarke 1996: pg. 216). Clarke goes on to say that the reasons for decrease in union membership is because of Structural change causing job declines, growth of contracting and self-employment, feminisation of the workforce, high job mobility rate and inadequacy inside the unions . There are also many other reasons why union membership is declining, and the ACTU has felt it necessary to step in and stop this downward spiral. In 1997, the ACTU spent 40 million dollars on improving managerial roles in trade unions. This means that, although the membership levels are low, the unions themselves will still be a strong figure in the inevitable conflict between employees and employers.