The Federation Press

Employment Relations

Individualisation and union exclusion - an international study


This book draws contributions from 13 leading labour law and industrial relations scholars in four countries - Australia, Britain, Japan and New Zealand. It examines:

  • different national approaches to individual employment agreements;
  • the impact of individualisation upon trade unions, collective bargaining and labour markets in four countries;
  • the legislative and other legal aspects of individual employment arrangements in four countries;
  • the legal frameworks for individual agreements in three Australian jurisdictions and the Australian Commonwealth Public Service;
  • analysis of the types of clauses which appear in individually negotiated contracts in Britain;
  • the role which individual employment agreements may play in negotiation strategies between employers and unions;
  • the crucial role of the State in promoting individual employment relations in Britain, Australia and New Zealand; and
  • the use to which individual agreements may be put in developing more flexible employment relations.


In short, the last decade of individualisation and union exclusion in Australia, Great Britain, New Zealand, and Japan has shown that trade unions have been pushed onto the defensive: HRM tactics did not lead to high trust employment relations; management uses ’individual bargaining’ to gain ever more power; and individual contracts are no more than standardised contractual arrangements forcing workers to accept lower conditions and wages.
After a decade of rising management power, the book unmasks the reality behind the myth of individualisation. - Transfer, Vol 7 No 3, 2001

Table of Contents


The Emergence of Individualisation and Union Exclusion as an Employment Relations Strategy
Stephen Deery and Richard Mitchell

Part I: Australia

The Legal Framework for Individual Employment Agreements in Australia
Andrew Stewart
The Decollectivisation of Australian Industrial Relations: Trade Union Exclusion Under the Workplace Relations Act 1996 (Cth)
Amanda Coulthard
Reconstituting the Employment Relationship in the Australian Public Service
Phillipa Weeks
Changing the Dynamics of Bargaining: Individualisation and Employment Agreements in Western Australia
Bill Ford
The Character of Individualised Employment Arrangements in Australia: A Model of “Hard” HRM
Stephen Deery and Janet Walsh

Part II: Great Britain

Organisational Change, Labour Flexibility and the Contract of Employment in Great Britain
Simon Deakin
Individualisation and Union Recognition in Britain in the 1990s
William Brown

Part III: Japan

Individualisation of Employment Relations in Japan: A Legal Analysis
Hiroya Nakakubo
Trends and Developments in Japanese Employment Relations in the 1980s and 1990s
Yoshifumi Nakata

Part IV: New Zealand

Individualising the Employment Relationship in New Zealand: An Analysis of Legal Developments
Gordon Anderson
The Individualisation of Employment Relations in New Zealand: Trends and Outcomes
Sarah Oxenbridge

Table of Cases
Table of Legislation

Of interest...