Worker Voice

Worker Voice
Employee Representation in the Workplace in Australia, Canada, Germany, the UK and the US 1914-1939

Patmore, Greg
Studies in Labour History, 5
Liverpool University Press
March 31st, 2016

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This book informs debates about worker participation in the workplace or worker voice by analysing comparative historical data relating to these ideas during the inter-war period in Australia, Canada, Germany, the UK and the US. The issue is topical because of the contemporary shift to a workplace focus in many countries without a corresponding development of infrastructure at the workplace level, and because of the growing ‘representation gap’ as union membership declines. Some commentators have called for the introduction of works councils to address these issues. Other scholars have gone back and examined the experiences with the non-union Employee Representation Plans (ERPs) in Canada and the US. This book will test these claims through examining and comparing the historical record of previous efforts of five countries during a rich period of experimentation between the Wars. In addition to ERPs, the book expands the debate will by examining union-management co-operation, Whitley works committees and German works councils.

‘A well-researched transnational history with impressive detail.’
Chris Wrigley, University of Nottingham

‘Patmore believes that understanding the past can and should influence the present and describing how a similar issue played out across five countries makes the stories he tells in Worker Voice much more important than had he chosen to describe the ERP situation in just one nation. This kind of ambition deserves to be applauded.’
Jonathan Rees, Labour / Le Travail

‘Greg Patmore has produced a clear and accessible book, whichprovides the reader with a detailed, yet succinct, account of the different forms ofemployee representation found in the five selected countries. It is a book that I would warmly recommend to anyone interested in this turbulent period of international labour history.’
Ed Blissett, Labour History

Author Information
Greg Patmore is Professor of Business and Labour History, Work and Organisational Studies, The University of Sydney Business School.