Good Faith Bargaining - Essay

3422 Words Oct 14th, 2010 14 Pages
The objective underlying the Fair Work Act 2009 was to “get the balance right” (Smart Company, 2010 ; Forsyth, 2005) between fairness and flexibility in Australian workplaces while getting rid of the harsher aspects of Work Choices which preceded it. The Fair Work Act sought to restore collective bargaining in the Australian workplace relations system, including enhanced rights for union involvement and, most importantly, the good faith bargaining requirements.

Good faith bargaining is an important requirement placed on the parties by the Fair Work Act 2009. The concept of ‘good faith bargaining’ is not a “novel concept”. It has been defined as “negotiations in which two parties meet and confer at
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The absence of any reference to face-to-face meetings in the Act, or to “reasonable places”, implies that meetings via “teleconference facilities” (Heinsz, 2000) or other similar means would suffice, particularly where employers are located in remote areas.
Therefore, the obligation to attend and participate in negotiations allows employees to feel a sense of trust between them and the management and for that reason will presumably be able to raise and convey their individual concerns openly. It is also perceived that good faith bargaining would also enable employees to negotiate more “equitable and flexible outcomes” (Patterson, 20002) for themselves. Thus, management will be able to determine what issues need to be addressed within the organisation and what needs to be done to resolve the problem. Overall, “attending and participating in meetings” will provide a forum for employers and employees to get together before engaging in the “enterprise- bargaining process” (Anderson, 2010) to consider carefully what they are seeking from the process and what measures they will employ to determine whether the agreement will be successful. It also allows management and employees the opportunity to establish “consultative mechanisms” (Anderson, 2010) to examine the most effective ways of increasing

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