Working futures examines the radical changes which are transforming the nature of work and employment relations in Australia.

  • Those who have paid jobs are working longer and harder.
  • Many have less secure jobs than the previous generation.
  • There has been a significant growth in precarious employment.
  • Life-time careers are disappearing.
  • Unions cover a dwindling proportion of the workforce.
  • Wages and conditions are being unilaterally determined by management.

A wide range of eminent contributors to this book provide insights from history, economics, sociology, law, psychology, management and industrial relations. The editors conclude that the traditional employer-employee model is increasingly irrelevant. More inclusive social and economic policies, which are based on rights and obligations surrounding working life, are required. Two issues, in particular, need to be addressed:

  1. the portability of entitlements between employers
  2. the sharing of risks associated with less secure forms of employment.

Working futures warns that unless changes are made to the status of workers, regulation of working time, and the pooling of risks and responsibilities in regard to employment, there is likely to be a further deterioration in the quality of jobs and relations at work in Australia.

About the editors

Ron Callus is Associate Professor and Director of Australian Centre for Industrial Relations, Research and Training (ACIRRT) at the University of Sydney.

Russell D Lansbury is Professor and Associate Dean (Research) in the Faculty of Economics and Business at the University of Sydney.

Table of contents
  • Introduction to working futures – Ron Callus and Russell Lansbury
  • Work in an ungolden age – Keith Hancock
  • Changes in the nature of work and employment relations: An historical perspective – Greg Patmore
    • Commentary: Melanie Oppenheimer
    • Commentary: Rae Francis
  • The changing labour market and its impact on work and employment relations – Mark Wooden
    • Commentary: John Burgess
    • Commentary: Joe Isaac
  • Legal aspects of the changing social contract at work – Ron McCallum
    • Commentary: Justice FL Wright
    • Commentary: Suzanne Jamieson
  • Down with the dictator: The role of trade unions in the future – Michael Crosby
    • Commentary: Rae Cooper
    • Commentary: Stephen Long
  • Employment time and family time: The intersection of labour market transformation and family responsibilities in Australia – Bettina Cass
    • Commentary: Ed Davis
    • Commentary: Alison Morehead
  • The disadvantaged in the New Economy – Gianna Zappala, Vanessa Green and Ben Parker
    • Commentary: Gillian Considine
    • Commentary: Caroline Alcorso
  • Changing forms of organisation and management – Dexter Dunphy and Doug Stace
    • Commentary: Beryl Hasketh
    • Commentary: David Grant
  • Working futures: Australia in a global context – Ron Callus and Russell Lansbury