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Monash University

Monash University Handbook 2011 Postgraduate - Unit

6 points, SCA Band 3, 0.125 EFTSL

Refer to the specific census and withdrawal dates for the semester(s) in which this unit is offered.

FacultyFaculty of Law
OfferedCity (Melbourne) First semester 2011 (On-campus block of classes)
Coordinator(s)Professor Marilyn Pittard


This unit will examine the international concept and basis of collective bargaining including through international law, International Labor Organization conventions and their interpretation; the adoption of international standards and their concept in Australian labour law and the role of the courts, industrial tribunals and the legislature in developing the right to bargain and collective bargaining; the right to strike and lockout in the context of bargaining in collective agreements and its international basis; the limits on industrial action in collective bargaining; and when protected industrial action ballots (compulsory strike ballots) might be sought and ordered.

The unit will also study the role of bargaining agents; the duty to bargain and the concept of good faith bargaining; the legal status of collective agreements and parties to agreements; the protection of labour standards in agreements via the 'better off overall' test; and legal issues about the role, content, termination and enforcement of agreements. The role of unions and employers in bargaining will be examined.

The Fair Work Act 2009 (Cth) and related legislation, which implement the federal Labor government's 'Forward with Fairness' policy and law, will be evaluated in relation to workplace bargaining and agreements, together with the use of individual flexibility arrangements and common law contracts.


On completion of the subject students should understand and be able to critically evaluate:

  1. the impact of laws which promote or restrict bargaining
  2. the concepts of the right to bargain and collective bargaining and the role played by the legislature, the courts, industrial tribunals and international conventions in developing these concepts
  3. the development of the concept of the right to strike and lockout and its international basis in the context of bargaining
  4. the role of unions and employers in bargaining and the legal status, content and enforcement of agreements.


Research assignment (3,750 words): 50%
Take-home examination: (3,750 words): 50%
In appropriate cases determined by the lecturer where a student has experience in the practice of workplace bargaining and agreements law, assessment may be one research assignment (7,500 words) for 100% of the marks.

Chief examiner(s)

Professor Marilyn Pittard

Contact hours

24 contact hours per semester (either intensive, semi-intensive or semester long, depending on the Faculty resources, timetabling and requirements)


LAW7083 Law of Employee Relations or its equivalent