Cooperative Workplaces is a free program offered by the Fair Work Commission that helps parties build cooperative working relationships using interest-based approaches.
The program helps employers and employees:
- address immediate issues
- improve workplace processes in the long-term.
We provide guidance and advice to help you come up with plans to improve your workplace.
The program focuses on areas where interest-based approaches can be most helpful:
We use our expertise in workplace relations and interest-based approaches to help businesses and their employees:
- identify shared and conflicting interests
- resolve and prevent disputes
- avoid arbitration
- reach agreements, and
- support change.
- Training in interest-based approaches, in person and through our Online Learning Portal
- Workshops in collaborative workplace change
- Facilitation of interest-based bargaining and dispute resolution
We will work with you to tailor a program that best meets your needs.
- The program does not take away or alter any legal rights of any of the parties
- Parties can withdraw from the program at any time
- The Commission will not make any decisions for you.
The program is free.
Is the program right for your workplace?
The Cooperative Workplaces program is right for employers and employees that:
- want to build cooperative relationships
- are genuinely interested in moving away from an adversarial relationship
- are committed to being clear and open with each other throughout the process.
The main requirement is that everyone involved in the program is committed to it.
Interest-based approaches aren’t necessarily faster, and certainly not when you’re starting out. It takes time, resources and work to introduce interest-based approaches into a workplace. The Commission can help, but successful and long-lasting change is up to each individual workplace.
How to get started
- Learn more about the interest-based approach by completing our online learning modules on interest-based bargaining, available through our Online Learning Portal
- If your workplace is interested in trying the Cooperative Workplaces program, or if you just want to find out more, email us at email@example.com.
- If your workplace agrees to try the program, you will need to complete and send us the Form F79 Cooperative Workplaces application. We will start the program once we have consent from the parties.
- We then train you in interest-based approaches. The length of the training depends on your needs but is normally 1–2 days. You can ask for a particular Member to run the training if you have a preference, or we can choose one for you.
- After the training, the Commission will facilitate the process and continue to provide support if you need us.
Case studies: how the program has worked for other workplaces
- Aruma and the ASU Part 1: The Development and Benefits of a Collaborative Model (pdf)
- Aruma and the ASU Part 2: Sustaining a Collaborative Model (pdf)
- Opal Fibre Packaging and the AMWU: Sustaining a Collaborative Model (pdf)
- News Corp Australia & AMWU Printing Division (pdf)
- Sydney Water & ASU Water Division (pdf)
- Orora Fibre Packaging & AMWU Printing Division (pdf).
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