Protected Industrial Action and Voluntary Collective Bargaining Under the Fair Work Act 2009
The Economic and Labour Relations Review, Vol. 21, No. 1, pp. 37-52, 2010
17 Pages Posted: 3 Feb 2011
Date Written: February 1, 2011
This article explores the enactment of a right to strike in the Australian federal industrial relations system in order to ascertain what the legislation reveals about the commitment of successive federal governments to the principles of voluntary collective bargaining. The article reflects briefly on Australia’s international obligations to respect the right to strike under ILO and UN Conventions before outlining the main features of protected industrial action under the federal system from 1993 through to the passage of the Fair Work Act 2009 (Cth). The discussion reveals that the right to strike in Australia is very limited, particularly with respect to the content and level of agreement making that may be supported by protected industrial action. Focusing on multi-enterprise agreement making in particular, the article concludes that the current legislative regime does not permit industrial parties to determine their own industrial agendas and support those agendas through protected industrial action.
Keywords: Australian Industrial Law, Fair Work Act, Labour Rights, Multi-Employer Collective Bargaining, Protected Industrial Action, Right to Strike
JEL Classification: K10, K30, K31
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation