ESSAY – GOOD FAITH BARGAINING
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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If handled correctly, good faith bargaining has the effect of focusing hearts and minds on striving for success, which will inevitably lead to greater benefits being enjoyed by all the workplace. The bottom line is that “good faith bargaining” provides workplaces with an opportunity to mould “workplace practices and terms and conditions” (Australian (Vic) Government (n.d.), Retrieved on September 19, 2010) of employment to suit individual and workplace needs and requirements. As a result, under the Gross National Product (GNP), the significance of productivity in “increasing national welfare” is now “universally recognised” (Australian (Vic) Government (n.d.), Retrieved on September 19, 2010). There is no “human activity” that does not benefit from “improved” productivity. This is important because more of the increase in “gross national income, or GNP” (Pitt and Murphy, 2004) , is produced by improving the effectiveness, efficiency and quality of “manpower” than by using “additional labour and capital” (Patterson, 2002). In other words, national income (GNP), grows faster than the input factors when productivity is improved. “Productivity improvement”, therefore, results in direct increases in the “real economic growth”, “social progress” and “efficiency” (Burton, 2007). Thus, the increase productivity will help the Australian economy to keep pace with the “productivity levels” of its competitors thereby,