Strategic unionism': not enough to stem the decline in trade union membership?

2017-06-07T06:06:56Z (GMT) by Hose, Kerrie
A number of key models of the employment relationship advocate that 'strategic choice', or the use of strategy, is of equal importance to all actors, including trade unions, in the employment relationship. Research into the use of strategy by the Australian trade union movement, however, is a neglected area. This paper reviews the 'strategic unionism' approach formally adopted by the Australian Council of Trade Unions (ACTU) in 1987 within the bounds of Fells' model of the employment relationship (Fells 1989). The approach is reviewed in terms of the factors of wider society, the objectives of relevance and effectiveness, its evolution, and the approaches level of success with regard to trade union density and membership. The paper finds that not only has the success of 'strategic unionism' been constrained by environmental conditions, but that several of its key features - the Accord and union amalgamations - may have undermined its potential impact.