Good and bad bargaining for women: do unions make a difference?

Kathryn Heiler, Betty Arsovska, Richard Hall

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)


Research on the effects of enterprise bargaining on the gender pay gap are farfrom settled. After reviewing some of the key contours of this debate and the available data sources we use the Australian Centre for Industrial Relations Research and Training (ACIRRT) Agreements database to analyse some of the dynamics of bargaining within the enterprise bargaining stream. In the absence of adequate data on the number or proportion of women covered by particular agreements we use industry feminisation as a weak proxy and consider wage outcomes in terms of industry feminisation, union involvement and agreement type. We find no support for the suggestion that women may beforegoing wage increases for morefavourable conditions, such as better working time arrangements. On the contrary, employees receiving lower wage outcomes under enterprise bargaining (such as women) are also more likely to be losing previously compensated working time conditions. Amongst other things, the research suggests the need for better and more accessible data on the number and proportion of women covered by individual enterprise bargains.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)101-127
Number of pages27
JournalLabour & Industry
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 1999
Externally publishedYes

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