LAW5633 - Contemporary workplace relations law - 2018

6 points, SCA Band 3, 0.125 EFTSL

Postgraduate - Unit

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



Chief examiner(s)

Prof Marilyn Pittard Researcher ProfileResearcher Profile (

Unit guides



  • Term 2 2018 (On-campus)


This unit will examine the following major areas:

  1. the development of systems for regulating dispute settlement and determining conditions of employment, including the Australian federal system for regulating workplace relations, industrial disputes and minimum conditions of employment, the systems in North America, United Kingdom and Europe;
  2. the impact of globalization and international labour standards through international labour organization conventions and its regulation;
  3. the scope and coverage of domestic legislation, including the Fair Work Act 2009 (Cth) and its constitutional basis and the degree of legislative intervention in comparator countries of Australia, United States, Canada, and Europe;
  4. sources of minimum conditions , minimum wages and the safety nets;
  5. the purpose, scope and content of collective and enterprise agreements; good faith bargaining and the use of industrial action as a bargaining tool;
  6. the protection of workplace rights, such as the right to join a union in the comparator countries; and
  7. approaches to the enforcement of minimum conditions, modern awards and enterprise agreements, in Australia through the Fair Work Ombudsman and the court system and in the comparator countries.


On completion of this unit students will be able to:

  1. apply knowledge and understanding of the importance of international conventions and domestic legislation in relation to industrial dispute settling and setting minimum terms and conditions of employment in comparator countries of Australia, United States, Canada, United Kingdom and Europe and the impact of constitutional powers in establishing workplace relations systems;
  2. investigate, analyse and synthesise complex information and problems, concepts and theories in relation to the legal nature of collective or enterprise bargaining and the role of industrial action in bargaining for terms and conditions of work and how minimum standards for workers are set and enforced in the comparator jurisdictions;
  3. conduct research in the law relating to the protection of workplace rights, including the right to bargain collectively and the freedom to choose whether or not to join a union, in the comparator jurisdictions; and
  4. use cognitive, technical and creative skills to generate and evaluate at an abstract level complex ideas and concepts relevant to contemporary workplace relations law and new and emerging contemporary problems in that field.


Attendance requirement: students who fail to attend at least 80% of the classes in this unit (ie who miss 3 or more classes) will receive a result of 0 N for the unit. Students who are unable to meet this requirement due to severe illness or other exceptional circumstances must make an application for in-semester special consideration with supporting documentation.

  1. Seminar presentation: 10%
  2. Report (1125 words): 15%
  3. Research assignment (5625 words): 75%

Workload requirements

Students enrolled in this unit will be provided with 36 contact hours of seminars per semester whether intensive, semi-intensive, or semester-long offering. Students will be expected to do reading set for class, and to undertake additional research and reading applicable to a 6 credit point unit.