Varieties of Collaboration: The case of an Australian Retail Union
Much has been written about varieties of collaboration and the interplay between conflict and collaboration in industrial relations. This paper explores the preconditions, processes and outcomes associated with the collaborative strategies of an Australian retail trade union: the Shop, Distributive and Allied Employees' Association. The data were collected from an extensive series of interviews with officials and organisers within the union across all Australian states. We find that despite taking a servicing approach, and indeed never aggressively organising members, the union has managed to achieve a range of outcomes that exceed retail employment conditions in other countries. We argue that this is partly a result of the Australian legislative framework, which is inherently pluralist and supportive of collective bargaining. This environment, whereby unions are not forced to fight to represent members, can be conducive to collaborative employment relations, particularly in industries where the parties do not adopt an adversarialist stance.
International Journal of Human Resource Management