Publication Date

January 2001

Publication Details

Gollan, PJ, Markey, R and Ross, I, Additional Forms of Employee Representation in Australia, Working Paper 01-11, Department of Economics, University of Wollongong, 2001.


Additional forms of employee representation (AFER) may be defined as any representative mechanism which exists alongside or instead of trade unions, which historically have been the most common form of employee representation in Australia. AFER are frequently referred to as ‘alternative forms of employee representation’, which reflects one pattern of usage of these structures. However, since they also may be, and commonly are, utilised as a complement to union forms of representation, we have chosen the more neutral term ‘additional’ throughout this paper. It is apparent from existing research in Australia that little is known about how additional forms of employee representation (AFER) are composed, their independence from managerial influence, the ‘representativeness’ of such bodies, and their accountability. In addition, little has been documented about the impact of such structures on either the managerial objective of securing consent to organisational change or the employee objective of influencing managerial decisions. This paper will attempt to address these issues by examining AFER structures in Australia.