Endless lessons in 74 years of bargaining

by 25 Jun 2009

THREE AUSTRALIAN lawyers have returned from the US equipped with a number of les sons, and warnings, for Australian organisa tions as they face the impending introduction of new collective bargaining laws.

Chris Gardner, a partner from Freehills, Melbourne barrister Stuart Wood and Henry Skene, a partner at Arnold Bloch Leibler, made the journey in order to learn as much as possi ble about the US’s Collective Bargaining Sys tem – bargaining laws that have been in place since 1935.

One parallel we can expect, said Gardner, would be the higher level of regulation spawn ing the call for more sophistication by the bar gaining participants – largely because there’s more up for scrutiny by the regulator.

“There are more pitfalls, but there are also opportunities,” said Gardner. “It’s going to lead to a higher level of sophistication. What that, in turn, dictates, is a greater level of investment in an enterprise bargaining process, than we’re perhaps currently seeing in Australia today.”

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