Employers should be equipped to deal with
the Fair Work Act changes as unions are
poised to intervene in workplaces at which
their power has declined over the years
Good faith bargaining requirements –
one of the key changes that came into ef
fect on 1 July – will mirror many of the re
quirements of US workplace law, according
to law firm DLA Phillips Fox, and will restore
unions’ bargaining power.
The US has more than 70 years’ experi
ence of good faith bargaining and could be
used as a guide for Australians transitioning
to the new laws, through analysis of the
strategies US employers and unions have
adopted when bargaining, the firm believes.
Washington-based DLA Piper partner
Joseph Turzi said experience shows that
preparation is key when it comes to good
“Under US labour, law parties are entitled
to bargain hard. However, the greater the
challenge in the negotiations the more diffi
cult it is to know what you need to do to keep
bargaining in good faith. It becomes more
complicated. You can continue to bargain
hard if you are prepared,” said Turzi.
Joydeep Hor, managing partner at Harmers
Workplace Lawyers said that while a fair amount
can be learned from both the NZ and US experi
ences around good faith bargaining laws, there
are other factors which are influencing Australian
legislation which employers can draw from.
“Although the NZ and US workplace laws
are well-developed and were models for the
Australian legislation … Australian IR has its
own unique history and recent political is
sues here are probably more relevant than
the overseas experience with good faith bar
gaining laws,” said Hor.