The Role of Industrial Tribunals in Promoting Cooperation and Productivity in the Workplace

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 seminar, hosted by the Fair Work Commission, that discusses an important role that industrial tribunals can play, one explicitly now recognised in the federal Fair Work Act.

Please note that this event is in addition to the previously announced seminar on organising workers that will be held on Wed 25 March. You may also be interested in a further event being organised by the Law School, on Social Media and the Employment Relationship, to be held on Thur 26 March.

The Role of Industrial Tribunals in Promoting Cooperation and Productivity in the Workplace

This presentation by Professors Mark Bray (Newcastle Business School) and Andrew Stewart (Adelaide Law School) provides the background, approach and preliminary findings of a research project investigating the notion that Australian industrial tribunals should be seeking to promote cooperative workplace relationships and improved organisational performance, rather than just resolving existing disputes. After reviewing the historical dominance of adversarialism in Australian industrial relations and the conventional mode of dispute resolution by industrial tribunals, it will describe two recent attempts to move beyond these traditions to a more proactive role: the ‘Hunter Model’, advanced over the last 30 years mainly within the NSW jurisdiction; and the Fair Work Commission’s more recent ‘engagement strategy’, as promoted by Justice Ross since 2012 and supported by a key statutory amendment in 2013. Preliminary findings from case studies in both jurisdictions will be provided.

Where:  Fair Work Commission, Hearing Room 6.1, Level 6, Riverside Centre, North Terrace, Adelaide

When:   Monday 30 March 2015, 5:15 to 6:30pm

RSVP: or 08 8313 5063

Professor Mark Bray has held the Foundation Chair in Employment Studies at the University of Newcastle since 1997 and is the lead author of the popular text Employment Relations: Theory and Practice (McGraw-Hill, 3rd ed, 2014). Mark’s current research interests include the peculiarities of Australian labour law, collective agreement making and collective bargaining, and the role of ‘third parties’ in promoting workplace cooperation. This last area includes a major project, with co-investigators Dr Johanna Macneil and Professor Andrew Stewart, and funded by the Australian Research Council: ‘Facilitating workplace change: Redefining the role of industrial tribunals in Australia’. The research partners in this project are the Fair Work Commission and the Newcastle Branch of the Industrial Relations Society.

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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