Strike Ballots, Democracy, and Law

Strike Ballots, Democracy, and Law


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International law and most national legal systems recognize the right to strike as a fundamental human right. However, the most common qualification for a strike is that the action must first be approved by ballot. These types of requirements are often said to be necessary to protect the democratic rights of the workers - the so-called democratic imperative. But is that truly their aim?

This book draws on detailed empirical study of the Australian legislative provisions for pre-strike ballots; a comparative analysis of law and practice in a range of countries including Canada, South Africa, the United States, and the United Kingdom; and the approaches of the supervisory bodies of the International Labour Organisation to evaluate the true purpose and effect of the ballot requirement. While in some cases the ballot requirement provided additional bargaining leverage for unions, overall, the study showed that the principle purpose of ballot requirements is to curtail strikes rather than vindicate the democratic imperative it claims to support.

Exploring collective bargaining and union democracy, this is an essential title for those involved in or studying labour law. This book also demonstrates the fundamental shortcomings of ballot regimes, and provides and accessible exploration of the operation of said regimes, which makes this a helpful tool for unionists to understand their rights as workers. It also considers significant policy questions in the field and is relevant in the respect of the international labour law regime.

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Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780198869894
Publisher: Oxford University Press
Publication date: 12/31/2020
Series: Oxford Labour Law
Pages: 320
Product dimensions: 9.30(w) x 6.30(h) x 1.10(d)

About the Author

Breen Creighton, Honorary Professor, Graduate School of Business and Law, RMIT University,Catrina Denvir, Senior Lecturer, Department for Business Law & Taxation, Monash Business School,Richard Johnstone, Professor, School of Law, Queensland University of Technology,Shae McCrystal, Professor of Labour Law, University of Sydney,Alice Orchiston, Lecturer, Faculty of Law, University of New South Wales

Breen Creighton is an Honorary Professor at RMIT University and a consultant with one of Australia's leading law firms. He has had many years of experience as a legal practitioner, and has held academic positions at universities in Australia and the UK. He has also worked for the ACTU, ILO, and Commonwealth Government. He has published extensively in the fields of labour law, work health and safety, equal opportunity, and public law.

Catrina Denvir is a Senior Lecturer at the Department of Business Law and Taxation, Monash Business School, Monash University. Catrina's research engages issues at the intersection of technological innovation, data science, law, and social justice. She has expertise in a broad range of qualitative, quantitative, and computational research methods.

Richard Johnstone is a professor in the School of Law, Queensland University of Technology. His academic interests are in labour law, regulatory theory, and empirical legal research.

Shae McCrystal is Professor of Labour Law at the Sydney Law School at the University of Sydney. Shae is an internationally recognized expert on the right to strike and the intersection of labour law and competition law. Among other works, she is the author of The Right to Strike in Australia, and co-author and co-editor of books exploring the regulation of labour at the intersection of labour law and commercial law.

Alice Orchiston is a Lecturer in the Law Faculty at the University of New South Wales. Her research is socio-legal and interdisciplinary, focusing on issues connected with labour and employment, the regulation of commercial sexual activity, and gender-based violence. Dr Orchiston has specific expertise in qualitative and mixed-methods research, online research, and researching vulnerable populations.

Table of Contents

1. Strikes, Ballots, Law, and Democracy
2. The Right to Strike and Pre-Strike Ballot Requirements in International Law
3. Pre-Strike Ballots in Comparative Perspective
4. Pre-Strike Ballot Regulation in Australia
5. The Impact of Ballot Requirements on Organizing and Taking Strike Action
6. Bargaining Leverage and Stakeholder Perceptions
7. Democratic Rationales for Pre-Strike Ballots
8. Reflections on the Australian Pre-Strike Ballot Model

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