Union power in retail: Contrasting cases in Australia and New Zealand

Bailey, Janis, Price, Robin A., Pyman, Amanda, & Parker, Jane (2015) Union power in retail: Contrasting cases in Australia and New Zealand. New Zealand Journal of Employment Relations, 40(1), pp. 1-18.

View at publisher


Retail employees are the prototypical vulnerable, low-paid employees, and for that reason unionism and its benefits, such as collective bargaining, provide important social protection. However, the reasons that make employees vulnerable also reduce union power though that is not to say that retail unions lack agency. This article analyses the power resources and their deployment in the respective retail unions in Australia and New Zealand. The two unions’ strategies are quite different, and provide interesting contrasts in approaches and ideology. The implications for theory are that ideology matters with respect to union strategy (and should be attended to more thoroughly in studies of union renewal) and – as others have also argued – the wider institutional context has a very significant influence on outcomes for unions and their members. The implication for practice, therefore, is that both workplace and extra-workplace strategies in the political and other arenas remain central for the low-paid.

Impact and interest:

Citation counts are sourced monthly from Scopus and Web of Science® citation databases.

These databases contain citations from different subsets of available publications and different time periods and thus the citation count from each is usually different. Some works are not in either database and no count is displayed. Scopus includes citations from articles published in 1996 onwards, and Web of Science® generally from 1980 onwards.

Citations counts from the Google Scholar™ indexing service can be viewed at the linked Google Scholar™ search.

Full-text downloads:

74 since deposited on 04 Sep 2014
48 in the past twelve months

Full-text downloads displays the total number of times this work’s files (e.g., a PDF) have been downloaded from QUT ePrints as well as the number of downloads in the previous 365 days. The count includes downloads for all files if a work has more than one.

ID Code: 75923
Item Type: Journal Article
Refereed: Yes
Additional URLs:
Keywords: Union Power, Retail, Australia, New Zealand
ISSN: 1179-2965
Subjects: Australian and New Zealand Standard Research Classification > COMMERCE MANAGEMENT TOURISM AND SERVICES (150000) > BUSINESS AND MANAGEMENT (150300) > Industrial Relations (150306)
Divisions: Current > QUT Faculties and Divisions > QUT Business School
Current > Schools > School of Management
Copyright Owner: Copyright 2014 E R Publishing Ltd.
Deposited On: 04 Sep 2014 22:40
Last Modified: 01 May 2015 02:20

Export: EndNote | Dublin Core | BibTeX

Repository Staff Only: item control page