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Collective Bargaining under the Fair Work Act

Edited by Shae McCrystalBreen Creighton and Anthony Forsyth

Published 27 August 2018
Publisher The Federation Press
ISBN 9781760021849

Is the system of collective bargaining under the Fair Work Act broken? Both employers and unions think that it is, and that the legislation requires significant amendment. Are they right?

This collection answers this question by examining the operation, effects and impact of the framework for enterprise bargaining established by the Fair Work Act 2009 (Cth) nine years after it was enacted. This legislation, introduced by the Rudd Labor Government, was ostensibly intended to restore a collectivist focus to the system of industrial regulation following the Howard Coalition Government’s ‘Work Choices’ experiment. The ‘Fair Work’ model is now sufficiently mature to permit an informed examination of its practical operation, including its response to continuing rapid social, economic, structural and labour market change, and an evaluation of how it can and should respond to these changes in the future.

Comprising contributions from leading Australian scholars in the fields of law and industrial relations, and critical reflections on the operation of the Australian model from North American and United Kingdom contributors, this collection provides that evaluation, exploring the critical successes and failures of the Fair Work Act and setting out directions for future change.


About the Contributors 
Union Abbreviations 
Table of Cases 
Table of Statutes

1. Evaluating the Australian Experiment in Enterprise Bargaining 
         Breen Creighton, Anthony Forsyth and Shae McCrystal

2. Getting to the Bargaining Table: Coercive, Facilitated and Pre-Commitment Bargaining 
         Breen Creighton

3. Has the Australian Model Resisted US-Style Anti-Union Organising Campaigns? Case Studies of the Cochlear and ResMed Bargaining Disputes 
         Anthony Forsyth and Bradon Ellem

4. The Role of Trade Unions and Individual Bargaining Representatives: Who Pays for the Work of Bargaining? 
         Rosalind Read

5. Bargaining, Cooperation and ‘New Approaches’ under the Fair Work Act 
         Mark Bray, Andrew Stewart and Johanna Macneil

6. Deadlocked Bargaining Disputes: Industrial Action, Agreement Termination and Access to Arbitration 
         Shae McCrystal

7. Employer-Controlled Agreement-Making: Thwarting Collective Bargaining Under the Fair Work Act 
         Umeya Chaudhuri and Troy Sarina

8. General Protections: Industrial Activities and Collective Bargaining 
         Joellen Riley

9. The State Strikes Back: Supervision and Sanctioning of Unlawful Industrial Activity by Federal Government Agencies in Australia 
         Tess Hardy

10. Access to Collective Bargaining for Low-Paid Workers 
         Fiona Macdonald, Sara Charlesworth and Cathy Brigden

11. Collective Bargaining under the Fair Work Act from the UK (and European) Perspective: Ideology, Individualisation and the State 
         Lizzie Barmes

12. Welcome to the Bottom: A North American Perspective on the Fair Work Act 
         Eric Tucker