Fair work laws: good faith bargaining, union right of entry and the legal notion of "responsible unionism"

Floyd, Louise (2009) Fair work laws: good faith bargaining, union right of entry and the legal notion of "responsible unionism". Australian Business Law Review, 37. pp. 255-266.

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The Fair Work Act 2009 (Cth) predominantly commenced operation on 1 July 2009, with its final provisions (eg minimum entitlements) set to become operative in January 2010. From the perspective of Australian business lawyers, two of the more significant changes that the legislation introduces pertain to the relationship between employers and trade unions; namely, the provisions governing good faith bargaining and union right of entry. This article analyses the new laws on these topics. From a study of the relevant law, the article considers the circumstances in which unions, not just employers, might be found to be in breach of the new s 228 which, for example, requires parties not to bargain in such a way as to undermine freedom of association and collective bargaining. Of relevance to that topic, the article also considers the British decision of Young, James and Webster and its pronouncements on the legal concept of “responsible unionism”. It is argued that “responsible unionism” is relevant to the interpretation of good faith bargaining by unions and union right of entry. The article also posits that “responsible unionism” is relevant to two further issues which are extremely significant, yet have been substantively left to future rounds of reform. The first of these issues relates to the form of the trade union registration and governance provisions. The second issue pertains to the question of what will happen to unions with State and federal branches if a true national system of industrial relations is achieved. The article concludes by arguing that the rights of State businesses, unions and workers should be given due weight. The notions of good faith bargaining, right of entry, responsible unionism and State interests are therefore all interconnected.

Item ID: 9009
Item Type: Article (Research - C1)
ISSN: 0310-1053
Keywords: work laws; industrial law
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Date Deposited: 09 Apr 2010 04:16
FoR Codes: 18 LAW AND LEGAL STUDIES > 1801 Law > 180118 Labour Law @ 100%
SEO Codes: 94 LAW, POLITICS AND COMMUNITY SERVICES > 9499 Other Law, Politics and Community Services > 949999 Law, Politics and Community Services not elsewhere classified @ 100%
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