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Industrial Relations

A competitive advantage through strategic workplace relations


Employers seeking to obtain a competitive advantage need to strike a balance between labour productivity, employment costs and staff engagement. We understand that a strong industrial relations strategy is critical to achieving this balance.

Our industrial relations service assists clients to:

  • integrate workplace arrangements with operational objectives
  • diagnose impediments to operational outcomes
  • devise appropriate strategies to overcome impediments
  • comply with legal obligations
  • mitigate industrial relations risks

We provide practical, solutions-based advice that enables our clients to navigate the procedurally complex industrial relations regulatory regimes, and to achieve their commercial objectives while minimising legal and reputational risk.

We partner with clients in all areas of workplace relations including:

  • business restructures and workplace reform
  • industrial action, picketing and dispute management
  • drafting and implementing individual and collective employment agreements
  • union and individual workplace rights
  • emerging workplace issues including drug and alcohol testing, sham contracting and the interaction of social media and the workplace
  • obligations towards employee representatives, including information and consultation obligations

In the current environment, many employers are faced with litigation in response to initiatives they have taken. For others, litigation may be necessary to protect the business from debilitating industrial action. We provide an unparalleled depth of resources and experience to manage such litigation, be it locally or on a coordinated national or international basis.

Recent Experience

Laing O’Rourke

Advising in a successful resistance of the implementation of a 20/10 roster. This was one of the most significant union claims on major construction projects in recent years

Compass Group

Advising in connection with two dispute notifications bought under enterprise agreements applying to several hundred employees who were made redundant in NSW and Victoria. The disputes gave rise to test cases on the application of key legal principles about the obligation to make redundancy payments at the end of customer contracts


Advising in relation to the CFMEU campaign of disruption at Grocon’s construction sites in Melbourne, Sydney and Brisbane in pursuit of claims for access to sites and the engagement of union shop stewards

BHP Billiton Mitsubishi Alliance (BMA)

Advising in relation to bargaining for a new enterprise agreement with the mining union and two other trade unions, involving approximately 3,000 mineworkers employed at seven BMA coal mines 

An energy company

Advising in relation to numerous changes to personnel and their terms and conditions of employment in Europe as a result of the recent oil price decline. This has included advising on a contentious restructuring including redundancies and changes to the terms and conditions of the employees of their contractor


Advising on the closure of a French site including advising on industrial relations strategy and negotiations with the employee representatives

Insights and updates

7th September 2023
On 4 September 2023, the Federal Government introduced the Fair Work Legislation Amendment (Closing Loopholes)...
26th May 2023
What are the impacts of the Secure Jobs, Better Pay reforms on bargaining dynamics and...
19th May 2023
Employers must have a close eye on 20 new principles to ensure agreements are ‘genuinely...
1st May 2023
The Fair Work Act’s new intractable bargaining regime represents one of the most significant changes...

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