Employment Relations Education : learning for a change? : a thesis presented in partial fulfilment of the requirements for the degree of Master of Education (Adult Education) at Massey University

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Massey University
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Trade union education constitutes a significant practice within the adult and community education sector in New Zealand, but rarely is the subject of academic research. This study examines one major domain of trade union education in this country. Employment Relations Education (ERE). Working collaboratively with a small group of member-activists from a large private sector trade union, the study investigates the evidence of transformational changes that may emerge as a result of their participation in ERE courses and workshops. An appropriate definition of transformation is used for a trade union context. This refers to that change occurring at the micro and macro levels of union activity that in turn leads to the twin goals of wage and social justice through the building of union influence and power – at the workplace and community levels. The study examines the nature and role of union education within the broader trade union context, particularly the ERE provisions of Employment Relations Act 2000 (ERA), enacted in response to a decade of significant labour market deregulation and marginalisation of unions under the auspices of the Employment Contracts Act (ECA). The study is located within the critical paradigm of qualitative social research, using a range of collaborative methods such as focused conversation, personal journals and photography, and, as such becomes a critical learning journey in itself for some participants. The study concludes by affirming that ERE plays an important role in augmenting the learning and development of member-activists in their daily struggle to improve the working lives and social outcomes for members through collective agency.
New Zealand, Labor unions and education, Industrial relations -- Study and teaching (Continuing education)