Patron's Night Oration - Future of Unions

Join us for a different Patron's Night oration as we go online for a discussion about the

The Digital Picket Line: How Australian Unions are Innovating to Rebuild Collective Power in the Workplace

with Anthony Forsyth

by webinar on Thursday 26 November 2020 at 5.00pm

About our speaker

Anthony Forsyth is a Professor in the Graduate School of Business and Law at RMIT University.  His research focuses on collective bargaining, trade unions, labour hire and the gig economy. 

Anthony is Vice-President of the Australian Labour Law Association and chaired the Victorian Government Inquiry into the Labour Hire Industry & Insecure Work (2015-16).  He also runs the Labour Law Down Under Blog.

Anthony will speak to the Digital Picket Line: How Australian Unions are Innovating to Rebuild Collective Power in the Workplace:-

Union membership has been in decline in Australia for over 30 years. Yet trade unions are still the representative voice of more than 1.5 million workers. The major strategy to reverse membership loss since the 1990s has been an Australian variant of the US organising model: focusing union resources on targeted, workplace-based recruitment drives. However this has not led to the hoped-for turnaround in the union movement’s fortunes. More recently, different approaches have been deployed to rebuild the collective power of workers. These include innovative union prototypes aimed at attracting a new generation of members (eg, Hospo Voice, Hair Stylists Australia and Game Workers Unite). Fast-tracked by the COVID-19 pandemic, unions have also implemented digital tools to build effective campaigns countering wage theft, inequality and unsafe work. This lecture will cover all of these developments, and the debate over labour law reform in the wake of the ACTU’s Change the Rules campaign, drawing on Professor Forsyth’s forthcoming book: The Future of Unions and Worker Representation: The Digital Picket Line (Hart Publishing).

About our Patron

Brian Lacy has had a longstanding relationship with IRSV including having served as our President and as President of the Australian Labour and Employment Relations Association.  Brian is a former Senior Deputy President of the Australian Industrial Relations Commission and a former Administrator for Christmas Island and the Cocos (Keeling) Islands.  Brian currently practises at the Victorian Bar specialising in employment industrial, anti-discrimination and administrative law.


This is a free event open to members and non-members but registration is required:

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  • Zoom login details will be emailed to registrants on the afternoon of the event shortly following the close of registrations

Registrations will close at 3.00pm on Thursday 26 November 2020.

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11/26/2020 5:00 PM - 6:00 PM
AUS Eastern Daylight Time
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