Australia has witnessed a rapid growth in outsourcing over the past decade with the public sector being the clear leader in these initiatives. Explanations of the rise of outsourcing tend to emphasize economic and human resources management factors and neglect the political dimension. In particular, unions and collective labour relations have been a target of a neo-liberal reform agenda pursued by both Labour and conservative governments, which has included outsourcing as a means of individualizing the employment relationship and reducing union influence. This can be seen clearly from the experience of the state of Victoria both in its reform of local government and its electricity generation industry where a carefully implemented programme of downsizing and outsourcing played upon existing divisions in the workforce. In both cases a pragmatic, survival oriented response from the major unions was elicited.
Asia Pacific Business Review,
Vol. 12, no. 2 (Apr 2006), pp. 243-256