Worker Voice

Employee Representation in the Workplace in Australia, Canada, Germany, the UK and the US 1914-1939

Greg Patmore

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ISBN: 9781781382684

Publication: March 31, 2016

Series: Studies in Labour History 5

In the USA? Buy the Hardback US edition
This book informs debates about worker participation in the workplace or worker voice by analysing comparative historical data relating to these ideas during the inter-war period in Australia, Canada, Germany, the UK and the US. The issue is topical because of the contemporary shift to a workplace focus in many countries without a corresponding development of infrastructure at the workplace level, and because of the growing ‘representation gap’ as union membership declines. Some commentators have called for the introduction of works councils to address these issues. Other scholars have gone back and examined the experiences with the non-union Employee Representation Plans (ERPs) in Canada and the US. This book will test these claims through examining and comparing the historical record of previous efforts of five countries during a rich period of experimentation between the Wars. In addition to ERPs, the book expands the debate will by examining union-management co-operation, Whitley works committees and German works councils.

Greg Patmore is Professor of Business and Labour History, Work and Organisational Studies, The University of Sydney Business School.

List of Tables
List of Illustrations
1. Introduction
2. The Context
 Explanations of Historical Patterns of Employee Representation
 The Economy
 Industry Scale and Structure
 The Division of Labour and Technology
 Trade Unionism and Politics
 Employers and Managing Labour
 The Role of the State
3. The Concepts
 Employee Representation Plans
 Whitley Works Committees
 The German Works Councils
 Union-Management Cooperation
4. The US
 ERP – The Extent
 ERP – The Impact
 Cooperative Management – The Extent
 Cooperative Management – The Impact
 The Demise of ERPs and Union-Management Cooperation during the 1930s
5. The UK
 The Extent of Whitley Works Committees
 The Impact of Whitley Works Committees
 Looking beyond the UK
6. Germany
 The Extent of German Works Councils
 The Impact of German Works Councils
 The Impact on Unions, Women and Employers
 The Demise of German Works Councils
7. Canada
 ERPs – The Extent and Impact
 An ERP – The Experience at the Sydney Steelworks, Nova Scotia
 Union-Management Cooperation
8. Australia
 The Impact
 Electrolytic Zinc
9. Conclusion

Patmore believes that understanding the past can and should influence the present and describing how a similar issue played out across five countries makes the stories he tells in Worker Voice much more important than had he chosen to describe the ERP situation in just one nation. This kind of ambition deserves to be applauded.
Jonathan Rees, Labour / Le Travail

A well-researched transnational history with impressive detail.

Professor Chris Wrigley, University of Nottingham  

Format: Hardback

Size: 239 x 163 mm

256 Pages

ISBN: 9781781382684

Publication: March 31, 2016

Series: Studies in Labour History 5

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