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Type: Journal article
Title: Only "Victim" Workers Need Unions: Perceptions of Trade Unions amongst young Australians
Author: Bulbeck, M.
Citation: Labour & Industry, 2008; 19(1-2):73-96
Publisher: Union FResearch centre on Organisation & Technology
Issue Date: 2008
ISSN: 1030-1763
Statement of
Bulbeck, Chilla
Abstract: This article tests the individualisation thesis, as proposed by Ulrich Beck, Anthony Giddens and others, in the course of exploring young Australians' attitudes to industrial relations. A survey of 1005 young Australians in four Australian states and 230 of their parents was conducted between 2000 and 2007. In line with the individualisation thesis's proposal that each of us is now responsible for our own do-it-yourself biography, very few respondents suggested that they personally could benefit from a union. Unions were seen as needed only by workers who were too weak to bargain effectively for themselves, for example because of low self-esteem, poor English-language skills, or being female. Few respondents understood unions in terms of solidarity or collective strength to overcome a power imbalance between employer and employee. Given this, several respondents suggested that a government agency or representative body could serve workers just as well as a union. In short, respondents believed that only some unions are worthy of their purported role; that only some workers require assistance in bargaining; and that only sometimes does a worker need to turn to an outside umpire for assistance.
RMID: 0020095972
Published version:;dn=645942935631050;res=IELBUS
Appears in Collections:Gender Studies and Social Analysis publications

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