The development of an appropriate response to technological change in a period of economic recession has become a major concern of trade unions in Australia, as elsewhere. The lateness of the Australian trade union response is paralleled in Britain. The British Trades Union Congress (TUC) has recently developed a major training program for unionists in negotiation of new technology agreements. However, in the main, trade unions have approached these as productivity agreements, rather than the extension of industrial democracy which is implied in official TUC policy. In doing so, most unions have acquiesced in managerial strategies to ride the recession with minimal investment in the new technologies required to boost Britain's ailing industries. The only unions which have negotiated over new technology in a broader context have been a small number in the white-collar sector. Their approach is primarily a result of their unusual structure, bargaining power and membership.