Day 3: Friday 11th February

The COVID crisis has led to some calls for enhanced worker voice, including mandates for employee representation on boards. In this paper, by using an unusually long panel data set, we estimate the productivity effect of worker directors (WDs) and thus contribute fresh evidence surrounding the theoretically ambiguous business case for greater board level representation. Our data are an unusually long panel data set for British co-partnership firms. We estimate diverse production functions, sometimes for firms in three separate industries, and we also estimate the effect of profit sharing (PS) alone on productivity. Finally we test the complementarity hypothesis-- whether there are synergies between WDs and PS and their effects on business performance. In baseline OLS regressions for firms in some industries we find a small and positive effect on firm productivity (about 2%) of WDs. We also find that PS enhances organizational productivity, by about 3% on average. Using different measures of WDs and PS does not affect our findings. The productivity effect of WDs is seldom enhanced by PS, at best we find weak evidence in support of complementarities. In on-going work we allow decision making participation (and PS) not only to directly affect output but to also affect the output elasticities of labor and capital. Also, to account for the possible endogeneity of labor and the capital stock, we estimate production functions by instrumental variables (IV). These estimates do not provide strong support for the complementarity hypothesis.

Most studies of corporate culture were conducted before the COVID-19 pandemic and generally did not consider hybrid workplaces. This study considers a research question: how can employing organisations maintain a strong corporate culture when adopting hybrid working? Given the shift to remote and hybrid work due to the pandemic, we conducted semi-structured interviews using Zoom with staff-members from each level of the corporate hierarchy of an Australian professional organisation to investigate staff perceptions of corporate culture in hybrid workplaces. We analysed verbal and visual data to try to understand the experiences of the participants. The study generated findings that supported and challenged the conceptual framework of Schein’s (2009) levels of corporate culture. The spaces and places where participants worked shaped their perceptions of work. Work-life balance was impacted positively through changes such as decreased commute times. Yet, it was impacted negatively due to elongated working hours and greater levels of employee stress and fatigue. The advent of hybrid workplaces precipitated changes to the organisation’s espoused values to create standards and expectations, while methods for communicating these values were also adapted. Decentralised workplaces resulted in significant decreases in staff interaction and connectivity, which was not directly replicated after the switch to online working. This led to issues such as forming and maintaining relationships, career progression, organisational transparency and mental health. We suggest ways in which the corporate culture literature can be refined to encapsulate culture in hybrid workplaces and to offer a novel definition of hybrid work.

This paper addresses the contribution and impact of public sector employment to regional labour markets and economic activity in nine Local Government Areas (LGAs) of New South Wales, covering the Illawarra, South Coast and Capital regions. In particular, the paper focusses on the extent to which public sector employment and workers’ spending patterns plays a counter cyclical, or even counter seasonal, influence on these regions’ economies using the recent bushfire and COVID-19 periods as case studies. The research uses a mixed methods approach, with statistical analyses of secondary data complemented by interviews with public sector workers. Analyses presented show that public sector employment represents a significantly larger proportion of total employment in most regional labour markets compared to Greater Sydney or Australia in general. Similarly, further analyses demonstrate both the disproportionately large and essential contribution of public sector income and spending to regional economic activity. The main finding of this research is that the relative size of public sector employment, as well as the important role of their constant spending at local businesses throughout the year, provides an important foundation and stability to regional economies, many of which are affected by frequent fluctuations in economic activity due to tourism or weather events. This vital role has been amplified more so in recent years with bushfires and COVID-19 having a sustained negative impact on regional economies, with the contribution of the public sector to regional economic activity increasing in relative size and importance in these challenging times.

Remote and digitally mediated work has become the next frontier in the development of the knowledge economy, especially in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. However, online labour platforms have existed since the early 2000s, triangulating the labour relationship to include themselves as the profit driven intermediatory. This paper argues that the platform, in its ability to create and facilitate the labour relationship within its private digital environment, takes ownership of this relationship and in doing so extracts profits from its users. The present body of research has provided foundational work in conceptualising labour platforms, identifying key infrastructures within these platforms, and depicting the experiences of workers. Underpinned by this research, this paper investigates the miniature of platform design to reveal how this design allows the platform enterprise to extract profits from the facilitation of remote labour relationships. In doing so, this paper aims to reframe the discussion of labour platforms to centralise the capitalist orientation of the platform enterprise as it seeks to valorise the labour relation for profit. This valorisation of the labour relationship is made possible through digital infrastructures that curate and manage both buyer and seller users to align with the platform’s strategy of accumulation. This research applies a mixed method approach in its investigation into the Amazon Mechanical Turk, Squadhelp and Upwork platforms which combines industrial labour sociological inquiry with new media ethnographies to reveal the dynamics of the digital labour relationship, and how the platform enterprise profits from the ownership over this interaction.

The question of engagement and impact in academic research is increasingly a focus of university workplace contexts. However, little attention has been paid to how one practitioner-type, the trade union, engages with academics to influence policy and member outcomes. Moreover, there is a desire for further knowledge on how to create, sustain and navigate the challenges of collaborative research with industry partners, in a way that maintains productive relations and generates outcomes for both industry and academics. In this paper, we present engagement between a group of university-based researchers and a teachers’ union, the NSW Teachers’ Federation, which represents public school teachers in the Australian state of NSW, as a reflexive case study in which to examine academic-practitioner collaboration. The collaboration we report on developed over a series of projects, culminating in a large-scale survey examining teacher workload conducted in 2018 and which was designed to influence education policy. In examining this near decade-long partnership, we make two theoretical contributions: first, we depict engagement with researchers as a unique strategy of trade unions for influencing policy outcomes, in this case, addressing problems around workload and administrative pressures on teachers; second, we contribute to the scholarship on knowledge co-production by examining the opportunities and navigating the dilemmas of collaborative processes when designing research for impact with unions. The findings from this case study of collaborative research provide useful practical insights for scholars seeking to strengthen the impact of their research, as well as potential challenges to navigate around industry engagement.

What power do unions have to regulate labour standards in the fissured workplace? The fissured workplace undercuts normative industrial relations theories that rely on fixed framing of actors, particularly employers and employees, to regulate labour standards. Instead, there are workers who perform tasks, and a range of businesses that benefit from their work, yet these businesses may have few obligations to these workers. This resultant pressure on labour standards creates a need to look beyond traditional models of state regulation to consider alternate actors for regulating standards. Notwithstanding membership decline, unions can still have the power to undertake that role in the fissured workplace. While there has been significant scholarship on the impact of fissuring on labour standards and the role of unions as countervailing forces to negative labour market changes, there has been little theorising of how unions might build power to complete this task. Based on a case study of the Australian Workers’ Union’s role in the supermarket supply chain and in a corporate group supply chain, this study draws on the power resource approach to unionism to argue that, in the fissured workplace, power should not be assessed comparatively to the power held by other actors but instead reconceptualised as an interplay of the power sources held by a particular actor. This reconceptualisation in turn has strategic implications for how unions assess interests and the scale at which they seek to exercise power.

This paper discusses the challenges and opportunities of professional unionism using the case of the mobilization of nurses through militant nurse unions in the US and Germany, and the less militant case of England. Trade unions aiming to mobilize professionals must contend with two sides of professionalism: the values associated with providing optimal services to clients and the closure of the occupation to maximize labor market returns. Nurse unions can respond to both sides by fusing the concerns implicit in them. In doing so, effective professional unionism challenges the dichotomization of interests and identities inherent in much research on professional work. Where professionalism predominates, however, unions opt for a less militant strategy. The paper draws theoretical implications for the study of union strategy and practical implications for nurse unions in the context of the pandemic.

Recent fatalities and injuries of food delivery workers engaged by 'gig economy' platforms have highlighted the deficiencies in the current State-based framework for regulating labour standards within the Australian gig economy. In this context, this presentation explores alternative sources of regulation by examining the regulatory functions of trade unions. Despite analysis of unions' regulatory function within the extant literature, there is a lack of empirical and theoretical evidence on how unions have sought to regulate the gig economy. To address this gap, this presentation explores the comprehensive campaigning approach of the Transport Workers' Union (TWU) within the Australian food delivery sector. This presentation employs a qualitative research methodology based on a thematic analysis of primary documents and interviews with 30 participants. The findings demonstrate that the mobilisation of power resources enabled the TWU to attain the capacity required to extend its regulatory influence. The deployment of associational, societal, and institutional power resources allowed the union to strengthen its organisational capacity (internal power) and strategic leverage (external power) to affect the gig economy regulatory space. A comprehensive campaigning approach to regulation enabled the union to leverage and harness the support of key actors, including both internal and external stakeholders. This presentation makes a significant theoretical contribution by demonstrating the specific ways that unions using a comprehensive campaigning approach can increase their regulatory capacity. In highlighting how non-State actors, like unions such as the TWU, can strengthen their regulatory functions, the findings have important implications for the wider scholarship, policy, and practice.

Women have been involved more in informal work in the Philippines than men. Women comprise a larger proportion of the self-employed and unpaid family workers in the country than men; and a much smaller fraction of women are formally employed compared to men. The pandemic has exacerbated this situation. Because of COVID-19 and the concomitant lockdown measures and social restrictions, businesses have had to either scale down operations or close, leading to more unemployment, particularly for women. One example is the food cart business. Food carts and the establishments hosting them have been forced to remain shut as the pandemic rages on. However, a business innovation has come about in the shape of online food carts, involving systems that allow the sale of goods through digital platforms. This has attracted the attention of many of the unemployed‚ mostly women, who have been participating in this new form of online work as an alternative source of income or livelihood for their families. This case study aims to describe and explain this phenomenon, as well as provide plausible answers to the questions that follow. What are the boundaries of this new form of work? Have rules evolved to regulate it? What social processes are involved in the creation of these rules? Are the workers employees or are they dependent contractors?

Al Rainnie (University of South Australia) Burҫin Hatipoglu and Anne Junor (UNSW Canberra)

Losing control of the COVID-19 pandemic, the Australian government increasingly tightened controls over borders, workers and the poor. Implications for agricultural, supply chain and front-line employment were profound. Old stances on migration resurfaced. Jobs could not be defended after 25 years’ de-collectivised labour relations (McCrystal, 2019). Insecurely employed workers and welfare recipients experienced increases in both poverty and government surveillance (Phillips and Narayana, 2021; Bielefield et al., 2021). Neoliberal erosion of public administration, health and education meant decreased policy coordination capacity, frontline worker risk and exhaustion (Roles et al., 2022; Smallwood, 2021). Employee voice was limited to exit; individualised resistance took the form of right-wing dissent including within union ranks (Adams, 2021).

We use a preliminary critical discourse analysis of selected commentary by academics, the organised labour movement and civil society advocacy groups to map progressive commentary and response agendas. We start with a much-cited 2020 editorial The Economic and Labour Relations Review, presenting a program for emerging from COVID-19 with a more equitable and sustainable society (van Barneveld et al 2020). Within action on global heating, this paper covered enhanced public health and aged care; a new industrial relations system; improved job security; equitable inclusion of young people, women, migrant and First Nations people in meaningful work, and enhanced social protection. In 2022, the article appears over-optimistic. The present paper, seeking signs of collective fightback, foreshadows a further, rigorously scoped (Tricco et al., 2018) meta- evaluation of change strategies advocated or initiated by progressive civil society and labour organisations.


  • Adams D (2021) An anti-vax protest hit Melbourne union offices following a new vaccine mandate for construction sites. Officials blame ‘outside extremists’. Business Insider, 21 September.
  • Bielefield S, Harb J and Henne K. (2021) Financialisation and welfare surveillance: Regulating the poor in technological times. Surveillance and Society 19(3): 299-316.
  • Fairclough N (2014). Language and Power (3rd edition). London: Longman.
  • McCrystal S (2019) Why is it so hard to take lawful strike action in Australia? Journal of Industrial Relations 61(1):129-144.
  • Phillips B and Narayanan V (2021) Financial Stress and Social Security Settings in Australia. Canberra: Australian National University.
  • Roles C, Ananth S and O’Donnell M (2022) Reinforcing managerial prerogative in the Australian Public Service during the COVID-19 pandemic. The Economic and Labour Relations Review 33(1), forthcoming.
  • Smallwood (2021) High levels of psychosocial distress among Australian frontline healthcare workers during the COVID-19 pandemic: a cross-sectional survey. General Psychiatry 34(5): e100577.
  • Tricco A, (2018) PRISMA Extension for scoping reviews (PRISMA-ScR): Checklist and explanation. Annals of Internal Medicine Research and Reporting Methods 169:467-473.
  • van Barneveld K, Quinlan M, Kriesler P, et al.(2020) The COVID-19 pandemic: Lessons on building more equal and sustainable societies. The Economic and Labour Relations Review 31(2):133-157.

The COVID-19 pandemic has caused unexpected and abrupt changes to the Australian retail industry, highlighting specific workforce vulnerabilities, including the quality of many jobs, affecting everything from workplace safety to wages and job stability. Shopping centres and some retailers have stayed open throughout the pandemic to supply the community with essential goods and services. Retail, pharmacy, fast food, and warehouse workers are on the front line, interacting with the public every day, and often responding rapidly to changes in Government restrictions. Retail workers have experienced the sudden and unexpected demand for specific products, making it difficult to maintain stock levels in stores, as well taking on the brunt of customer abuse driven by pandemic-induced panic buying. Online shopping has also increased exponentially with retailers and delivery companies now struggling to make on-time deliveries during state lockdowns and increasing cases of coronavirus within the workforce. Beyond these major shifts, the specific impact of COVID-19 pandemic on retail workers is less known. This paper presents preliminary findings from our project Designing Gender Equality into the Future of Work. Drawing on data on from a nation-wide online survey, which aims to understand and map retail workers’ gendered perceptions, experiences, aspirations, and anxieties regarding the future of work, we uncover how the pandemic has impacted on their current work and future plans, and what this means for gender equality in the retail industry.

Drawing on data from 3,601 Australian and Canadian academics who responded to a survey of COVID- 19 working arrangements undertaken mid-2020, this paper examines the effect of the changed working arrangements on three main aspects of academic work, namely: teaching, administration and research. Available research points to the uneven gendered effects of the COVID-19 pandemic on academic work, with women on average more negatively affected (Pereira, 2020). Understanding why there is a gendered effect is, therefore, an important research objective, with the potential to inform the development of new workplace policies, performance arrangements and support arrangements.

The particular strength of this study lies in its size (a comparatively large number of respondents), its cross-country nature (allowing for more generalizable results) and the detailed set of covariates including demographic characteristics, care responsibilities, field of study, academic level and institutional support arrangements.

The research approach employs descriptive and regression analysis along with the Oaxaca-Blinder (O- B) decomposition technique. The latter allows us to ask the question such as: “If women looked like men in terms of characteristic, what would be the gender gap in the perceived ability to finish and submit research papers be?”.

Preliminary analysis of the effect of COVID-19 working arrangements on research outcomes shows that, at the mean there is a 9.5 percentage point raw gap (favouring males) in perceived ability to finish and submit papers and that this reduces to a 6.2 percentage point unexplained gap after controlling for gender differences in observed characteristics. Other dimensions of academic work are considered in the paper.

During the COVID-19 pandemic, many workers were mandated to work from home (WFH) under stay- at-home directions from the government in an attempt to slow the spread of the virus. Organisations needed to adapt quickly through the immediate transition of workforces from corporate offices to WFH. While initial research focused on the implications of this change on various industry sectors, and to the issue of families having to suddenly juggle home care and schooling responsibilities with WFH, little attention has been paid to the WFH experiences of employees without caring responsibilities. Workers with families, particularly in white collar industries have some form of access to flexible work arrangements, allowing employees to balance work and family through WFH arrangements. However, the pandemic has now provided opportunities for those without caring responsibilities to WFH, opening a new direction for research in the work/life balance policy domain.

This research therefore intends to gain insights about the enforced WFH experiences of employees without caring responsibilities. We examine their perceptions of organisational response to COVID-19 and the positive and negative impacts that WFH has on this traditionally under-represented WLB literature. The experiences of 31 level 1 to 6 higher education workers (HEW) were collected through semi-structured interviews from employees across three Australian universities to understand how WFH arrangements affect this group. The findings present the benefits WFH has for this group and opportunities to consider the implications of organisational policy in relation to employee physical and mental health.

Menopause is a significant and often difficult life-stage for women. There are approximately 2.5 million menopausal working women in Australia (Jack et al., 2014). Work-related menopause research is in its infancy with a dearth of studies within the HR, organisational culture, work stress and leadership literature (Atkinson, Beck, Brewis, Davies, & Duberley, 2020).

The aim of this exploratory, multi-method study is to understand how COVID-19 and work has impacted menopausal workers in Australia, and to gain holistic understanding of menopausal leaders’ work experience in the Private Sector. The present study is informed by two main theoretical frameworks: The Bio-Psycho-Social-Cultural (BPSC) model (Hunter & Rendall, 2007), has been adapted to include work (BPSCW) specifically as a lens for this study, and Conservation of Resources (stress) theory provides a theoretical basis for the study (Hobfoll, 1988).

The study is being conducted in two stages: the first a mixed-method survey of working menopausal women across Australia, taking a focus on COVID-19 to gain understanding of this unique time-period. Stage two is focused on menopausal leaders in the Private Sector and takes a multiple-method, qualitative approach, using a combined online diary-interview method. The findings will create holistic and deep insight into how menopausal women experience work, what support they need and the implications for business, HR and organisational policy to better support menopausal women’s careers.

The exclusion of women from the labour market continues to be a major cause of poverty within the base of pyramid (BOP) labour market. Through the adoption of a producer-oriented perspective and including women from the BOP labour market at relevant stages of the supply chains; direct selling may be an avenue to increase the inclusion of women within the BOP labour market and to alleviate poverty. Specifically, with its low investment requirements and low entry barriers, direct selling offers a low-risk opportunity for unemployed or under-employed individuals to become micro- entrepreneurs. This is as direct sellers have the autonomy to establish their own sales channels and marketing strategies, and sales can occur at any non-store location including home and online sales channels.

However, while prior research have provided some support to these relationships, the complexities presented by the COVID-19 pandemic presents a unique context to test this proposition. Interestingly, despite some supply chain challenges, COVID-19 has created opportunities for women in the BOP market to grow their direct selling businesses through online channels.

Drawing on the social constructivist approach, we conducted semi-structured interviews with women engaged in direct selling in the BOP market in Iran, giving participants the ability to voice their experiences, concerns, and needs. Following on best practices, we adopted purposeful sampling to identify our research participants. We then explored how the challenges and opportunities presented by the COVID-19 pandemic have impacted the inclusion of the female labour force within the direct selling business at the BOP labour market, as well as the theoretical and practical contributions of our study.

It has become clear in recent years that unlawful underpayment of employees' remuneration is widespread in developed nations. Recent research explains some of the contextual factors that contribute to the problem such as worker vulnerability, union decline and under-resourced enforcement institutions. Less clear are the reasons why employers underpay their workers. Public discourse on the question tends to occupy the poles, suggesting that employers are either unscrupulous wage thieves, stealing from their workers, or that employers are honest victims, making inadvertent errors due to complex laws. These views are reflected in new policy reforms aimed at increasing employer compliance such as by increasing fines, introducing criminal sanctions, and attempting to simplify industrial relations laws. In this context it is important to take stock of how published research explains why some employers underpay their workers. Findings of a systematic literature review are presented, a research agenda proposed, and policy implications considered.

Unpaid internships have become ubiquitous in the Australian labour market, particularly in the graduate labour market (Oliver et al., 2016; Stewart, 2013). The intern economy, as Frenette (2015, p. 358) suggests is marked by the decline of unions, the rise of non-standard work arrangements, and an environment where enterprising subjects (Vallas, 2012) must assume the predominant burden of building their own employability. While extant research focuses on internship outcomes (e.g. post-internship employment) there is a significant knowledge gap of interns, lived experiences and how they build their employability. I conducted 38 semi-structured interviews with unpaid interns and find that their internship experiences are largely ad hoc and lack formal structures and guardrails (e.g. appropriate supervision or tertiary institutional support) to ensure employability building success. Universities, organisations and supervisors are often ill-equipped to manage and structure internships in a way that achieves the best outcome for the intern. For some, internships can act as a vehicle through which enterprising students and graduates can build their employability in structure-less environments. However, interns who fail to navigate these experiences as enterprising individuals find their employability building efforts hampered. By better understanding how internship experiences and external factors impact on an interns‚ ability to build their employability, we can devise new structures and guardrails that improve the interns‚ overall experience, assist them in developing their employability, and reduce instances of exploitation.

The living wage principle articulated in the Harvester decision was famously characterised by Justice Higgins as having a sacrosanct quality. An employer that failed to adhere to the obligation to pay a wage sufficient to keep an unskilled worker and his family in frugal comfort should go out of business. Today, Australian minimum wage laws are understood and applied in a manner that is far from absolute, with many employers and state actors explicitly contesting the notion that they should be formulated or enforced strictly. What explains this trajectory from inviolable to flexible application of minimum wage laws in Australia? Scholarship has tended to view weak approaches to minimum wage law compliance as a contemporary legal, policy or economic puzzle, best explained through analysis of policy shifts and changes to the relative power and resourcing of unions, workers, state enforcement agencies and employers over the past thirty years. Our approach, by contrast, situates soft approaches to the observance of minimum wage laws within a longer historical context, drawing attention to changing conceptions of the purpose of minimum wage laws in a way that includes, but is not reducible to, formal statutory changes to the minimum wages objective. In particular, we argue that there has been a shift in the identity of the protective subject of the minimum wage, from the figure of the male working-class breadwinner of the early twentieth century to the small business owner in the late 1990s/early 2000s, which has shaped approaches to observance and enforcement.

Utilising an original conceptualisation of an 'embodied labour process' of paid aged care support work, based on Merleau-Ponty's (2014 [1945]) phenomenological view of the body and Hamington's (2004) concept of 'embodied care', this paper explores the influence of the marketisation of aged care on the labour process of paid aged care support work. The thesis from which this paper is drawn, utilises a qualitative research design based on the philosophical approaches of naturalistic inquiry (Lincoln and Guba, 1985) and the Extended Case Method (Burawoy, 1998, 2009). Semi-structured in-depth interviews and focus group discussions were conducted between 2011 and 2018 with a purposive sample of aged care stakeholders (n=43), including paid aged care support workers (n=20) from both residential and home care in Western Australia. The paper provides an empirical understanding of the centrality of the physical materiality of the worker body (Fracchia, 2005, 2008, Rioux, 2015) for labour process analysis of exploitation in the capitalist labour process (Burawoy, 1978, Cohen, 1987, Holmstrom, 1977, 1983, Hyman, 2006, Knights and Willmott, 1990, Rowlinson and Hassard, 2000). The reliance of the marketised delivery of aged care in Australia upon the commodification and exploitation of worker bodies in the labour process of paid aged care support work is evidenced. The impact of this for paid aged care support workers is that it is their bodies that bear the brunt of the marketisation of aged care.

After 229 years the Victorian Government initiated Treaty dialogue with the diaspora of Aboriginal people living within its colonial boundaries, comprising Traditional Owners and pan-Aboriginals. In 2018 the Victorian Treaty Advancement Commission oversaw, directly appointed and elected members to the First Peoples’ Assembly of Victoria (Assembly), acting as an independent, democratic voice for Aboriginal people residing in Victoria. Direct community input initiated the inclusion of Elders’ voice in Treaty conversations stipulated in the Assembly Constitution. Elders are identified through their connection to Country and bestowed the title Elder through their community as respected knowledge holders. Through the lens of Indigenous Standpoint Theory (IST) and drawing on the Employee Voice and Social Identity literatures this paper explores the participation of Elders in the Victorian Treaty process. This process is underpinned by western democratic principles and has formal representative voice through the Assembly and a range of direct/indirect voice mechanisms and formal/informal communication processes. However, we argue that the reality of First Peoples lived experience, the diversity of mobs and different approaches to decision making leads to the potential exclusion of Elder voice in the Treaty process. IST presents a different worldview and captures the unique cultures and diverse lived experiences of our people. We highlight Elders’ uniqueness to their mob, we ask how will this diversity of Elder Voice be heard and on whose behalf do they speak?

This paper traces the development of the teaching and research of industrial relations at the University of Sydney. The paper will identify the broader context of the changes in the Australian Higher Education system and concomitant changes with the former Faculty of Economics / Business School at the University of Sydney. Issues to be discussed include: the struggle to separate the teaching of industrial relations; the period where leadership became an issue for the Department of Industrial Relations; and the appointment of Russell Lansbury as head of the Department; and the transformation of the department into the Discipline of Work and Organisational Studies. The changing curriculum is traced to incorporate the teaching of Human Resource Management and of Management through the prism of Organisational Studies while maintaining the commitment to teaching and research of Industrial Relations. There is an account of the growing research profile to reflect those curriculum changes and the discipline’s growing reputation for policy impact. This account will be considered within the framework of organisational and higher educational change and will explore whether the changes in the Department / Discipline were primarily opportunistic and incremental or whether, at certain points, the change could be characterised as strategic.

Despite words of good intent espoused in Australian universities‚ Indigenous strategies and Reconciliation Action Plans, the attraction, progression, retention and promotion of First People in the Academy is agonisingly slow. This is due to systemic failings from the impact of colonisation underpinned by racial bias and the hidden hegemony of whiteness. This presentation focuses on the doctoral research journey. We capture the experience of a Yawuru Indigenous Pre-Doctoral Fellow though a series of vignettes supplemented with commentary from his supervisors, the Kartiya (wording from the Kimberly region of Western Australia meaning white person) Professor and Gundjtimara Professor. We include the collaborative storying of the lived experiences of other Indigenous Pre-doctoral Fellows, suggesting that these lived experiences are not unique. We call out both overt and covert racism that pervades Australian universities. We identify non-Indigenous skills deficits across the entirety of the employment and research relationships. In particular, the importance of fearless listening and two way learning that many well intentioned non-Indigenous supervisors need to be aware of if they are to succeed in their supervisory practice of Indigenous students. In particular, utilising Indigenous Standpoint Theory, we re-affirm the importance of relationality and respecting First Peoples ways of knowing, being and doing. We exemplify the concepts of reciprocity and reflexivity in the research journey. We ask ‚Äì how can non-Indigenous supervisors become academic activists, calling out racism and being allies in building antiracist communities to create the conditions for self-determination and voice for First Peoples scholars and staff in Australian Universities.

In this paper, we want to look at the policy response of the ACTU and a group of NGOs in Australia to two pandemics, covid-19 and climate change - with a particular focus on the post covid future of work. The paper begins by evaluating the evidence regarding the impact of covid-19 on climate change. To what extent has policy and practice in response to covid-19 impacted climate change. We then examine the impact of covid-19 on labour globally and in Australia. The following sections examine how analysts have approached the changing role of the state in confronting environmental issues in an era of pandemic. We look at four policy responses. First, the Australian Confederation of Trades Unions ‚National Jobs Plan; second, the Climate Councils, Clean Jobs Plan; third, Beyond Zero Emissions, Million Jobs Plan; and finally, the Sydney Policy Lab’s Real Deal. We examine these initiatives in the light of the framework for analysing green jobs and climate initiatives developed firstly by Goods et al (2015) and secondly Heenan & Sturman (2020). In the conclusion, we hold the plans we have examined up against a variant of the American Green New Deal, in the light of the climate challenge that faces us.

In the petroleum-dependent Norwegian economy, climate change politics challenge the powerful petroleum industry, and Norwegian shop stewards in that industry find themselves in cross pressures of representation and responsibility. In this article, we investigate what role trade unionists in the oil sector play, and can play, in a green and just transition. We analyse data from six focus group interviews with shop stewards in the petroleum industry. By engaging with theories of roles and role perceptions in light of labour agency, we fill a theoretical gap in the conceptualization of workers’ collective agency. Respondents describe themselves as active part of a green transition in their capacity as workers, but the role of shop stewards neither seem to offer tools nor a mandate for representing environmental concerns: Climate change is not their task. Shop stewards respond to externally ascribed role expectations by insisting that primary agency resides with politicians, companies and consumers‚ and union leaders. Their reactive and ambiguous role interpretation can prove risky, as the employment outlook in the industry is changing radically and rapidly. Last, we find that there are both a need and potential for re-scripting shop stewards‚ role that is active and relevant in the green transition.

Recent research on trade unions as climate actors examines how climate change can shape a new sense of union purpose (Snell and Fairbrother, 2010; Hampton, 2015). While this scholarship acknowledges internal differences within unions, which can temper solidarity, it primarily analyzes union documents and prioritizes the views of union leadership. Based on in-depth interviews with labour leaders and rank-and-file workers in the Canadian auto-manufacturing sector, this paper interrogates how climate change can potentially construct a unity of purpose and collective identity among heterogenous union members. We ask: Do union leaders’ dominant framing(s) of climate action resonate with workers and form the basis for a collective identity? Our research reveals that Canadian auto-union leaders advocate for a Green New Dealism a form of ecological modernization that calls for the expansion of state investment in green infrastructure and job retraining, with the goal of strengthening solidarity around green jobs. We argue that ecological modernization resonates with a small group of activists, as it does not fundamentally challenge automobility, and ideal notions of Fordist relations between the state, capital and worker that are central to their identities as autoworkers. While the majority of rank-and-file members reject elevating climate change above job security, some members, particularly young workers who value the environment and are less attached to auto work per se, highlight the limits of ecological modernization for ensuring a sustainable future. We argue that understanding such internal differences and negotiating multiple collective identities is key for unions to rebuild solidarity.

Climate change has altered weather patterns, including more hot days, longer heat waves and more frequent extreme weather. While there is growing scholarship from health and science researchers on how high heat impacts workers in Australia, there has been limited investigation into how unions are dealing with the challenge. This project involved interviews with 12 union leaders across a diverse range of industries, asking how they respond to growing high heat and what limitations and problems they encounter. A Marxist political economy framework is used, to underline how climate change and its impacts are internally related to economic production and labour exploitation. Research found that unions are responding to high heat in four ways: reactive action to major heat events; education and training; organising and industrial initiatives; and, policy and regulatory efforts. Unions reported that although they are engaged in a wide range of action in these areas, there are substantial barriers to tackling the problem successfully at three levels: labour focussed impediments; employer related impediments; and, regulatory limitations. More broadly, although union leaders are concerned about increasing risk from high heat, they indicate that workers and labour organisations are often unable to act to manage this in comprehensive ways. Implications from the findings points to the need for a coordinated national strategy by unions and government to tackle the impacts of high heat for workers, as part of a broader approach to manage the impact of climate change on labour.

This book charts the path to revitalisation for trade unions in Australia, the USA, the UK, and Italy. It examines the examples of innovation and digital campaigning that are enabling unions to build new forms of worker power – and overcome decades of declining membership wrought by neoliberalism, globalisation, and hostility from employers and the state. The study evaluates the responses of unions in each country to falling membership levels since the 1980s. It considers the US 'organising model' and its adoption in Australia and the UK, comparing this with the strategies of Italian unions which have been more deliberately focused on precarious and migrant workers. The increasing reliance of US unions on community alliances, as seen in the 'Fight for $15' and similar campaigns, is scrutinised along with new union prototypes like Hospo Voice in Australia, the Independent Workers' Union of Great Britain and SI Cobas in Italy. The book includes an in-depth analysis of union responses to the gig economy in the four countries, and the emergence of self-organised worker collectives to combat this exploitative business model. The vital role played by unions in defending the interests of workers during the COVID-19 pandemic is also examined. As well as highlighting the most successful union initiatives to meet the challenges of the past.

This book investigates how paid care work and employment are being transformed by policies of social care individualisation in the context of new gig economies of care. Drawing on a case study of the creation of a new individualised care market under Australia’s National Disability Insurance Scheme the book provides important insights into possible futures for social care employment where care is treated as an individual consumer service. Bringing together sociological, political science and socio-legal approaches the book demonstrates how, in individualised care markets and with ineffective labour laws, risks of business and employment are devolved to frontline care workers. The book argues for an urgent re-evaluation of current policy approaches to care and for new regulatory approaches to protect workers in diverse forms of employment.

Working from home has been hailed as a win-win for workers and employers, and discussed in glowing terms by many commentators. Yet the reality is far more complex. While not discounting the fact that for some workers, working from home has been a positive experience, there are many important issues and implications for workers’ rights surrounding remote work. Workers’ conditions, as well as their mental and physical health can be threatened by remote work arrangements. Drawing on interviews with 33 remote workers from New South Wales, Australia, this paper offers a critical analysis of remote work, including a treatment of issues such as: social isolation, work intensification, increased hours and workload, and blurring of the boundaries between work and home life. This changed work context introduced by widespread work-from-home arrangements adds work demands and needs to be considered in its larger context. Firstly, the wider industrial relations context is one of low levels of union and worker influence. Secondly, issues such as workload and casualisation affecting white collar workers pre-dated the pandemic. Thirdly, there is a mental health epidemic in Australian society of which psychosocial factors at work play an important role. Remote work affects individuals, and demographic groups, differently. The paper also canvasses potential future issues surrounding work from home including reduced pay, increased hours and changes to office space.

We use data from 14 European countries and a difference-in-differences empirical design to provide evidence that the fall in prices of information and communication technologies (ICT) is associated with a significant increase in the share of employees who work from home. We show that similar results hold in age, gender, and occupation groups with notable differences across age groups. The effect of the fall in ICT prices on working from home increases with age. We show in a stylized theoretical model that a rationale for such a result is that the preference for working from home increases with age and the benefits from working on-site decline with it.

Coalmining has been central to climate change policy in Australia where the industry is a major export earner controlled by some of world’s major resource transnational firms. Much attention is focused on the Queensland coalfields, examining politics conflicts, be they elections or occasional confrontations between climate activists and local workers. No attention has been paid to workplace tensions playing out in the very same place at the same time. The most recent of these struggles began in late 2018, when one of the region’s major employers, BHP, established in-house labour-hire companies to employ miners under wages and conditions that the union argued were inferior to those in the union-negotiated agreements. In the years before this, the region had been transformed by fly-in-fly-out and drive-in-drive-out labour and contractors. The chief concern, then, is to ask how labour, both individually and collectively, has reacted to these apparent threats. Building on recent analyses of unionism through the power resources approach‚ and earlier work where Harvey revisits Williams‚Äô concept of militant particularism‚ the paper argues that struggles within coalmining are intertwined with struggles about coalmining, local work with national politics. Harvey’s work is a reminder that mineworkers are embedded in deeply contradictory relationships with capital: mining firms at once provide jobs but also transform working conditions. Threats to union power on the job frame responses to the climate crisis.

The treadmill of production economic system increasingly threatens to undermine the foundations of future human welfare. While urgent action is needed, conceptualisations of the good life (TGL) as the imperial mode of living (IML) of overconsumption, are justifications upholding the system and driving forces behind the crises. German trade unions who, as part of the historic bloc of the growth coalition, have historically tried to delay climate action in the name of jobs through praising work, have supported the hegemonic commonsense of IML-TGL. This is an obstacle to environmental union organising and progressive coalitions for social-ecological transformation. Our research approaches this challenge by answering the following research question. To which extent are divergent goodsense counter-hegemonic narratives present within German trade union discourses? To this end, we undertake a document analysis of the three biggest German unions‚ ver.di, IG Metall and IG BCE, narratives of TGL and good work, using Gramsci’s theory of commonsense. We find that counter-narratives of TGL are present to different degrees within the unions and amongst interviewees. These can provide entry points for counter-hegemonic narratives of TGL and alliances with societal actors fighting for solitary modes of living - a Good Life for All within planetary boundaries. Our paper is part of the special issue on climate change and IR by the JIR and would fit the corresponding session organized by Caleb Goods and Frances Flanagan.

In the petroleum-dependent Norwegian economy, climate change politics challenge the powerful petroleum industry, and Norwegian shop stewards in that industry find themselves in cross pressures of representation and responsibility. In this article, we investigate what role trade unionists in the oil sector play, and can play, in a green and just transition. We analyse data from six focus group interviews with shop stewards in the petroleum industry. By engaging with theories of roles and role perceptions in light of labour agency, we fill a theoretical gap in the conceptualization of workers’ collective agency. Respondents describe themselves as active part of a green transition in their capacity as workers, but the role of shop stewards neither seem to offer tools nor a mandate for representing environmental concerns: Climate change is not their task. Shop stewards respond to externally ascribed role expectations by insisting that primary agency resides with politicians, companies and consumers‚ and union leaders. Their reactive and ambiguous role interpretation can prove risky, as the employment outlook in the industry is changing radically and rapidly. Last, we find that there are both a need and potential for re-scripting shop stewards’ role that is active and relevant in the green transition.

The Australian Institute of Employment Rights (AIER) proposes a new framework for industrial relations inspired by the Robens reforms to occupational health and safety laws and a broad application of the ‘fair go all round’ principle. The proposed regulatory framework devolves responsibility for achieving fair industrial relations outcomes and compliance to the workplace and extends employment-like protections to non-employees via a process of ‘directed devolution’. The aim is to create practically enforceable rights and responsibilities for a wide range of workplace participants in a fairer system that increases workplace democracy and effects systemic workplace cultural change. The system incorporates a new tribunal with expanded powers and a labour inspectorate better incentivised to serve vulnerable workers. In this session, the participants outline the new regulatory architecture and assesses its advantages, strengths and weaknesses – particularly its capacity to address workplace discrimination, harassment, bullying and cultural change. The needs of independent contractors and marginalised workers in casual work and the gig economy are also considered, as well as major institutional changes to the workplace tribunal to ensure independence, non-partisanship and accessibility, and a new governance and incentive structure for the labour inspectorate. The session investigates the advantages the new framework might offer over current legal regulation that is fragmented, inconsistent, slow to react to changed business practices, promotes dualism and segregation and is underenforced. The papers in the session are drawn from draft chapters of the AIER’s forthcoming book, A New Workplace Relations Architecture (working title, Hardie Grant:2022).

The Australian Institute of Employment Rights (AIER) has proposed a new framework for industrial relations in Australia that is inspired by the Robens reforms to occupational health and safety law, and is based on a broad view of fair go all round.

This paper explores the advantages, strengths and weaknesses of such a new architecture of legal regulation to address issues of discrimination, harassment and bullying at work. The paper investigates the advantages the new framework might offer over current legal regulation that is fragmented and inconsistent, and provides largely only reactive and individualized rights.

The author is a contributor to the AIER project.

Professor Anna Chapman, Melbourne Law School, University of Melbourne

This paper discusses what the objectives of a reformed industrial relations system should be and discusses those behind the proposed reforms outlined in A New Workplace Relations Architecture (working title, Hardie Grant: 2022).

It is argued that the objectives of a reformed system should include unifying and synchronising the industrial relations system, promoting responsiveness to the challenges of the future of work, ensuring fair and decent work, extending universal rights beyond employees to all forms of engagement, improving business leadership and workplace culture, promoting consultation, engagement and workplace democracy, access to justice, as well as promoting minimum standards and collective bargaining. The concept of the “Fair Go All Round” is discussed as a unifying foundation that grounds all of these objectives and that can be practically applied by a reformed arbitration system to ensure fairness is achieved.

Michael Harmer
President, Australian Institute of Employment Rights
Chairman & Senior Team Leader, Harmers Workplace Lawyers

Three key institutions, together, shape participants’ access to justice and enforcement of standards in labour law: the courts; the tribunal; and the labour inspectorate. This paper considers the second and third of these.

Major institutional change is required to re-establish the credibility of these institutions. In particular, reconstruction is necessary to avoid the perception that they exist to further the interests of one side of the employment relationship. In the case of tribunals, the appearance of partisan appointments has crippled the ability of the institution to deliver ‘a fair go all round’. I propose the abolition of the present tribunal (the FWC) and its reconstitution into a new body (a ‘Workplace Relations Commission’). Many but not all members of the FWC would go into the new body, especially the President. A merit-based selection process would emphasise balance. New Zealand provides one example of a more even-handed, consultative appointment process, but the principle of bipartisan appointments needs legislative backing.

The labour inspectorate (presently the Fair Work Ombudsman) faces the wrong incentives, and these create the wrong culture. The incentive the organisation should face is to serve the interests of vulnerable employees. A replacement regulator should be made accountable to a board of people for whom the protection of employees is the driving interest. The bodies responsible for education and enforcement should be separated, to create objectives that are unambiguous, simple and clear. Prosecution success rates should be eschewed as a KPI.

Emeritus Professor David Peetz
Griffith Business School, Griffith University

This paper explores the fair labour standards and remuneration that a new framework for industrial relations in Australia would have as its fundamental core, and which are ‘non-negotiable’. It argues that the current core legislated standards, generally unchanged since 2009, should be revised and augmented to ensure that they are fair, meet contemporary needs and are not lagging behind developments overseas.

The paper investigates both the gaps in current legislated standards and the need for revisions of existing standards. The paper critiques some existing legislated standards, proposing improvements, such as paid rather than unpaid leave for parental leave and family and domestic violence leave, and other revisions to avoid unfair outcomes.

Technological developments, together with the global pandemic, have driven changes in the way employees work and employers’ practices, necessitating additional standards to promote fairness. The right to disconnect from work after hours and the right to work at home are two rights that should be included as basic fair standards. The right of employees not to be subjected to intrusive surveillance and the right to privacy at work are also proposed as fair labour standards at work.

The paper advocates strengthening the legal framework to achieve a living wage for employees, pay equity and no gender pay gap.

Finally, it considers how these standards are best enshrined – by legislation of Parliament or orders of the Fair Work Commission.

The author is a contributor to the AIER project.

Professor Marilyn Pittard, Faculty of Law, Monash University

Jock Collins, Professor of Social Economics, UTS Business School, Australia

Today there is strong global interest in entrepreneurs and entrepreneurship. Most people immediately think about the hero entrepreneurs like Elon Musk, Mark Zukkerberg and Geoff Bezos et al. But what about male and female entrepreneurs who come from minority groups in society and are not billionaires or unicorns but self-employed or own small businesses? Mainstream entrepreneurship theory and research is weak on the experiences of minority entrepreneurs. Yet minority entrepreneurs – those who from marginalized groups who experience individual prejudice and/or structurally embedded discrimination practices, negative stereotypes, and restricted access to jobs commensurate with their human capital – often have relatively higher rates of entrepreneurship. What is their entrepreneurship story? Minority entrepreneurs include Indigenous Australians, refugees, Muslim immigrants, immigrants, and people with a disability. This paper draws on recent Australian research to develop the foundations of a theory of minority entrepreneurship. The theoretical foundations for minority entrepreneurship lie not in traditional economic theory but in the interdisciplinary insights drawn from theory of immigrant entrepreneurship, Polanyi’s argument that economies (and entrepreneurs) are socially and culturally embedded and play a role in the social transformation of the neighbourhoods in which they settle, and from social ecology theory. Policy implications to assist new minority business start-ups are evaluated.

Mark Jones, School of Management, RMIT University, Professor Pauline Stanton, School of Management, RMIT University, Professor Mark Rose, Pro Vice-Chancellor, Indigenous Strategy and Innovation Deakin University, Success, First Peoples enterprise, Indigenous Standpoint, Social Identity

Enterprise was a bedrock of a flourishing First Peoples society in Terra Cognita Australis for over 60,000 years. Colonisation led to dispossession, banishment, infantilisation and exclusion of First Peoples from economic participation, contributing to a multigenerational cycle of poverty and marginalisation. First Peoples activism, focusing on sovereignty and self-determination has witnessed the re-emergence of First Peoples enterprises and the birth of a growing Indigenous middle class. This paper draws on yarning with 20 First Peoples enterprise Founders from 15 sovereign nations across Australia, and interviews with five mainly non-Indigenous representatives from Aboriginal Economic Development Agencies. These Founders, born post 1970, are mainly tertiary educated, have extensive experience working in white organisations, culturally connected to their mobs and communities and have chosen to establish their for-profit enterprises as an act of self-determination. In this paper we utilise Indigenous Standpoint Theory, Social Identity Theory and Indigenous research approaches. We argue that these self- determined enterprise leaders consider the breadth of success far beyond the simplistic binarism of profit and loss transactions. Findings related to success, elicit an interconnected relationship with self, family, community, country and culture, in the aspiration of wellbeing, a concept known as Liyan, in the Yawuru language. Furthermore, these Founders see themselves as the solution and believe that a successful corporate class is within their generations grasp!

Mulaydi Robin, Australian Institute of Business, Tareq Rasul, Australian Institute of Business, Mahan Poorhosseinzadeh, Australian Institute of Business

Despite the proliferation of research around minority entrepreneurship and employment opportunity with over 400 articles published between 1986 and 2021, there has not been a comprehensive overview of the past, present, and future trends of these concepts, leading to a lack of unifying focus. Historically, both concepts have been investigated in numerous entrepreneurial studies from different perspectives, such as underdog, immigrant, refugees, gender, race, and LGBTQ among others. Further, the contributions of minorities through their entrepreneurial ventures have been highly lauded for boosting nations’ economies, creating employment opportunities and alleviating poverty, to name a few areas. We conducted an objective and systematic comprehensive review through a bibliometric analysis, reviewed and analysed a total of 422 Scopus-indexed articles published between 1986 and 2021. Our study reveals the major trends in article, author, country, and journal performance, as well as the past, present, and future thematic trends of minority entrepreneurship and employment opportunity research. We also provide recommendations on how future research can address hitherto underutilised theorising and research methodology to further develop the field; thus, painting a holistic picture of the literature on minority entrepreneurship and employment opportunity.

Keywords: minority entrepreneurship, economic development, employment opportunity, poverty alleviation, bibliometric analysis.

Shayegheh Ashourizadeh, Business Management and Organization, Kent Adsbøll Wickstrøm, Associate Professor, Department of Entrepreneurship and Relationship Management, Entrepreneurship and Organization, University of Southern Denmark, Li Jizhen, Professor, School of Economics and Management, Tsinghua University.

Immigrants’ entrepreneurial pursuits are embedded in both institutions in home-society and institutions in host-society. This mixed embeddedness is here theorized to enhance their innovativeness, especially if home- and host-societies differ in their institutions. Effects of institutional differences on innovation are ascertained for a representative sample of immigrant entrepreneurs in OECD-countries, surveyed by the Global Entrepreneurship Monitor, merged with measures of institutions in their home- and host- societies, from Hofstede and other sources. Analyses show that innovation by immigrants from OECD countries, compared to immigrants from non-OECD countries, is enhanced by difference between home- and host-societies in cultural institutions but impeded by difference in regulatory institutions. These findings contribute to immigrant entrepreneurship theory by elaborating institutional characteristics of mixed embeddedness and their impact on enterprising.

Authors: Dhara Shah, Department of Business Strategy and Innovation, Griffith Business School Ainslie Meiklejohn, Griffith University

The structural inequalities that have existed in Australia impacts on precariat and aging women as they attempt to re-enter the labour market, making them reliant on government welfare. Their participation in the labour market has been declining rapidly, due to issues of gender and age discrimination, long career gaps for caring responsibilities, domestic and family violence, poor health and disability and lower levels of digital literacy. The digital divide and poverty create another layer of economic strain for individuals and successive governments, especially with the current digitisation across sectors, hastened during the COVID-19 pandemic. While previous research has argued the need for women in poverty situations to have access to both internet and hardware, our mixed-methods longitudinal study aimed to understand and explain whether and how precariat women, break past the technological barriers. Using an action research model that included entrepreneurial training, coaching, and seed-funding for 40 disadvantaged women over 50 years of age accessing welfare support, we found that for aging and precariat women, with lower levels of self-efficacy and technological ability, it is possible to break down digital literacy barriers. Our study demonstrated that entrepreneurial learning journeys designed to build self-efficacy, and technological skills with allocated seed-funding based on individual women’s specific digital abilities and needs for training, internet plans and/or digital devices, this shift was made possible. The study has research and policy implications, particularly in addressing the digital divide and recognizing the symbiotic relationship between economic capital and access to digital connectivity.