University of Technology Sydney

21702 Industrial Relations

Warning: The information on this page is indicative. The subject outline for a particular session, location and mode of offering is the authoritative source of all information about the subject for that offering. Required texts, recommended texts and references in particular are likely to change. Students will be provided with a subject outline once they enrol in the subject.

Subject handbook information prior to 2023 is available in the Archives.

UTS: Business: Management
Credit points: 6 cp

Subject level:


Result type: Grade and marks

There are course requisites for this subject. See access conditions.


This subject provides an in-depth knowledge of the institutions, processes and contemporary forces relevant to understanding industrial relations in Australia and in other national contexts. The contemporary pressures upon industrial relations and the major legislation affecting the workplace are discussed and analysed. The practical skills required to effectively handle industrial relations are also covered, particularly those relating to grievance procedures, negotiations and advocacy.

Subject learning objectives (SLOs)

Upon successful completion of this subject students should be able to:
1. explain the nature of contemporary Australian industrial relations
2. explain the role of the key parties in industrial relations
3. understand the variety of industrial relations processes at the workplace, industry and national levels
4. develop industrial relations policies or practices which comply with relevant regulation and contribute to the strategic goals of the various stakeholders

Contribution to the development of graduate attributes

This subject forms part of the Master of Human Resource Management. It contributes to the objectives of that course by providing students with the knowledge of contemporary industrial relations rules and regulations needed to develop strategic industrial relations responses, practices and policy initiatives. The subject develops students' understanding of the pressures impacting on organisations and individuals in the context of industrial relations. It provides students with an evidence-based understanding of IR where they will be exposed to a range of IR responses, perspectives, theoretical frameworks, cutting-edge research and best practice. Students will be expected to engage in self-directed active learning to develop strategic analytical skills (such as the design and analysis of IR research) and knowledge of contemporary IR issues (such as online computer-based training, ethics in IR, stakeholder management and regulation compliance).

This subject will develop students’ competencies in relation to the following Faculty Graduate Attribute:

  • Communication and collaboration

This subject also contributes specifically to develop the following Program Learning Objective for the Master of Human Resource Management courses:

  • Communicate information clearly and fluently to a growing and diverse range of stakeholders as human resource managers (2.1)

Teaching and learning strategies

Overall Teaching Approach

The subject comprises one 90-minute lecture/seminar and one 90 minute Tutorial per week. Full attendance at lectures and tutorials is expected.

The subject develops practical skills and techniques to understanding major legislation affecting the Australian workplaces, stakeholders and employees. Much of the subject involves case studies and readings. These activities require students to do weekly reading commentary via the learning management system. Students are expected to have read any prescribed reading articles (including the relevant text chapter) prior to weekly sessions and engage in necessary group discussions during class. Through engaging with lectures, online learning activities, materials and participating in lecture and tutorial discussions, students will gain an appreciation for industrial relations.

Within Class


The subject comprises one 90-minute lecture/seminar per week. The lecture generally involves presentation of theoretical material as well as exposure to current case studies around that weekly theme. Students are expected to have read any prescribed reading articles (including the relevant text chapter) prior to class sessions and engage in this reading via the online discussion board (iAnnotate), as well as group discussions during lectures. Participation in lecture discussions will provide an opportunity for students to gain deeper understanding of the weekly theme and receive direct feedback of their understanding.

Students have the opportunity to receive formative feedback through completing online quizzes and via teacher comments on the online reading discussion board (iAnnotate).


The subject comprises one 90-minute workshop/tutorial per week. The weekly workshop/tutorial focuses on practical application of case study debates and negotiation skills. Students are expected to have participated in the weekly online reading via iAnnotate prior to weekly sessions by writing one substantial comment in the online portal as well as engage in group discussions, quizzes and rehearsals during class for additional feedback. Other tutorial activities will include role playing, negotiation exercises and case study analysis, all of which will be explored through multimodal sources (i.e. web clips, academic readings, film).

Content (topics)

  • Regulatory stuctures
  • Parties in industrial relations
  • Nature of industrial relations conflict
  • Internationalisation of industrial relations
  • Industrial relations at the workplace
  • Key processes in industrial relations


Assessment task 1: Presentation on National Systems (Group)*


This addresses subject learning objective(s):

1 and 3

Weight: 30%

*Note: Late submission of the assessment task will not be marked and awarded a mark of zero.

Assessment task 2: Case Study (Individual)


This addresses subject learning objective(s):

1, 2, 3 and 4

Weight: 30%

1,500 words

Assessment task 3: Examination (Individual)


This addresses subject learning objective(s):

1, 2, 3 and 4

Weight: 40%

Minimum requirements

To pass the subject, students need to achieve at least 50% of the total marks.

Required texts

Bray, M., Waring, P., Cooper, R. and Macneil, J. (2018), Employment Relations: Theory and Practice, McGraw-Hill, Sydney 4th Edition. This text is available online via UTS Library.

In addition to the prescribed textbook, other compulsory journal articles, chapters and media articles are also prescribed for weekly reading. These resources are listed in the Subject Resources folder in Canvas and for each relevant module.



The Journal of Industrial Relations

Work, Employment and Society

Labour and Industry

Australian Journal of Labour Law

Employment Relations Record

International Employment Relations Review

New Zealand Journal of Industrial Relations

British Journal of Industrial Relations

Industrial Relations (University of California)

International Journal of Employment Studies