Employee voice and social media: The Australian perspective

Arlene Sale, Jonathan Sale, Al Rainnie, John Burgess

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterpeer-review


There have been major changes in the structure and composition of the Australian workforce and in the industrial relations system. Work has become fragmented, and there has been a decline in full-time ongoing employment. Short-term, part-time, and insecure employment arrangements have increased. The industrial relations system has moved towards individual bargaining and placed restrictions over trade union activities. At the same time the trade union workforce density has declined. For employees to exercise voice they are faced with legislative restrictions placed on collective action and many work in non-unionised industries and workplaces. To exercise voice in this context requires new voice mechanisms and processes, and the utilisation of social media to promote employee grievances and concerns. The discussion will draw on secondary information, public reports, and social media to highlight the diversity of and the relationship between the different voice mechanisms and to evaluate the role that social media is playing in providing workers with voice in publicising and securing action to settle grievances that extend beyond the organisational workplace. This chapter discusses the evolution and changing voice mechanism in Australia, and how social media has been used to publicise workplace issues, to support employee voice, and to support coalitions of employee and non-government organisation (NGO) activism in supporting employee conditions.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationEmployee Voice in the Global North
Subtitle of host publicationInsights from Europe, North America and Australia
PublisherSpringer Nature
Number of pages30
ISBN (Electronic)9783031311239
ISBN (Print)9783031311222
Publication statusPublished - 22 Jun 2023


  • Australia
  • Dispute resolution
  • Employee voice
  • Industrial action
  • Social media
  • Trade union
  • Voice mechanism


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