Test cases will be closely monitored by employer groups and will be crucial in determining the shape of the Fair Work Act, according to Australian Industry Group (AiGroup) chief executive Health Ridout.
Speaking at the International Industrial Relations Association's World Congress held in Sydney on August 24, Ridout said the jury was still out on the new workplace relations system.
"The laws have not yet been tested and, no doubt, there are going to be many important cases over the months and years ahead," he said.
"Decisions of Fair Work Australia and the Fair Work Division of the Federal Court will shape the new workplace relations system."
He said the interpretation of new good faith bargaining laws would need to be closely monitored, and advised that the Government should be prepared to step in and make amendments if problems arise.
"It is too early to say whether the new good faith bargaining laws will be interpreted in a practical way, or whether they will be used by unions to frustrate agreements which are supported by the majority of employees but not by them."
In addition to concern about the good faith bargaining laws, Ridout also flagged nine other yet-to-be tested areas of the Fair Work Act that would be closely watched by employers, including the obligation to refrain from "capricious or unfair conduct that undermines freedom of association or collective bargaining", requirement to "genuinely try and reach an agreement", and the arbitration powers of Fair Work Australia.
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