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Organising Workers: Legal Perspectives from Germany and Australia Seminar

The Adelaide Law School’s Work and Employment Regulation research group and the SA Chapter of the Australian Labour Law Association invite you to a comparative labour law seminar in which three leading scholars will examine an important and topical set of issues:

Organising Workers: Legal Perspectives from Germany and Australia

Labour laws in developed countries have traditionally sought to protect workers by (among other things) facilitating the development of organisations – trade unions – that can represent their interests. But in recent decades, rates of union membership have been falling and, not coincidentally, the legal support given to unions has been under attack from business groups and their political allies.

Against that background, this seminar examines some of the ways in which German and Australian laws can either help or hinder strategies for the organisation of workers, especially amongst groups or sectors that have not previously been strongly unionised.

Professor Philipp Fischinger will talk about the legal framework for union advertising in Germany. In particular he will elaborate on the tension between the protection of union rights and respect for the legitimate interests of employers.

In the Australian context, Professors Anthony Forsyth and Andrew Stewart will examine the use of the new majority support determination procedure in the Fair Work Act, together with the potential impact of recent High Court decisions on the general protections against victimisation of union activists, and the Abbott Government’s proposals on rights of entry and protected industrial action.

Where: SA Unions, 170 Greenhill Rd, Parkside

When: Wednesday 25 March 2015, 5:00 to 6:30pm

RSVP: lawenquiry@adelaide.edu.au or 08 8313 5063

Professor Dr Philipp S Fischinger has a Master of Laws from Harvard and holds the chair for Civil Law, Labour Law, Commercial and Economic Law at the University of Mannheim, Germany. He has published numerous books and articles on various aspects of German law, though his main focus is on employment and labour law.

Professor Anthony Forsyh is Director of Juris Doctor Programs at RMIT University in Melbourne. His main area of academic research is the Fair Work Act’s collective bargaining framework and collective bargaining laws in the UK, Canada and USA. His recent projects have included a Fair Work Commission-funded study of the tribunal’s involvement in the enterprise bargaining process, an in-depth study of the 2011–12 Qantas bargaining dispute, and a case study of the Cochlear dispute. Anthony also works as a Consultant with the Corrs Chambers Westgarth Workplace Relations Group.

Professor Andrew Stewart is the John Bray Professor of Law at the University of Adelaide, President of the Australian Labour Law Association and co-director of the Adelaide Law School’s Work and Employment Regulation research group. He is also a consultant with law firm Piper Alderman. One of Australia’s leading experts in employment law and workplace relations, he assisted with the drafting of the Fair Work legislation and is currently working on Australian Research Council funded studies of the Fair Work Commission’s role in facilitating workplace cooperation, and the regulation of post-secondary work experience. Andrew’s many publications include Stewart’s Guide to Employment Law, the fifth edition of which was recently published by Federation Press.

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