Economics for Unionists

This course will provide a grounding in the fundamentals of economic theory and policy from a unionist’s perspective.


Social and History

Intended Audience

Organisers and Campaigners, Specialist Staff

Delivery Mode



2 Days




Enhance your understanding of major economic concepts and arguments, theories of labour in the economy and alternative approaches to economic policy. This course will equip you with the knowledge you need to win the economic argument for industrial reform and the protection of workers’ rights.


By the end of this course, participants should be able to:

  • Define key economic concepts 
  • Analyse and debate economic arguments 
  • Explain why our proposals have economic merit in policy and/or bargaining contexts 
  • Discuss theories of the role of labour in the economy 
  • Define and discuss alternative approaches to economic policy 


What is the economy?

Key economic terms
Micro and macro economics
Measuring the economy

How capitalism works

Short history of capitalism
Tools and goals of neoliberalism
Demystifying capital

Work and production

Forms of work under capitalism
The asymmetry of the employment relationship

The global economy

Dimensions of globalisation
Comparative advantage theory

The real economy and the paper economy

Money, finance and banking
Causes of global financial crisis

The economy and the environment

Globalisation and climate change
The economics of green jobs

Challenging capitalism

Capitalism’s report card
Alternatives to neoliberalism

Delivery Style

This course combines presentations from our expert facilitators along with discussion and group work to enable practical application to the workplace.


This course is delivered by economic specialists from the Centre for Future Work at The Australia Institute; a research organisation focusing on labour economics, unions and collective bargaining, and employment issues.



Credly Badge

Course Enrolment

Please note, in order to enrol you must be either a:
  • union officer/official and have sought approval from your union; or
  • financial member of an ACTU-affiliated union.


13 – 14 November | 9:00am to 5:00pm

Enrol here