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Unit Overview


Employment relations is fundamental to productive work and is therefore an important aspect of any country's economy and society, but what is 'employment relations'? Is it about unions, about strikes, about negotiation of wages and conditions, about freedom of contract? What happens when a manager wants to introduce some changes or a worker is concerned about safety issues? Why are employment relations good in some companies but not in others? How do systems of employment relations respond to external disruptions? By examining employment relations, work and society, this unit lays the foundations for the study of employment relations and so helps the student to answer questions such as these. The unit discusses the nature of work and the relationship between employer and employee, and considers the role of key actors, that is management, the state and trade unions. It explores areas of conflict and cooperation and the different ways in which conflict can be handled. The unit offers a foundational opportunity to learn about the dynamics of employment relations, and work and the implications for society.

6 points
(see Timetable)
Semester 1UWA (Perth)Face to face
Details for undergraduate courses
  • Level 1 core unit in the Work and Employment Relations major sequence
  • Level 1 elective

Students are able to (1) express the contextual factors that contribute to employment relations; (2) identify the key actors in the employment relationship and describe their roles; (3) explain cooperation or conflict in the workplace; and (4) describe the significance of employment relations and work to society and economy.


Indicative assessments in this unit are as follows: (1) tutorial activities; (2) critical assessment exercises; and (3) examinable assessments. Further information is available in the unit outline.

Student may be offered supplementary assessment in this unit if they meet the eligibility criteria.

Unit Coordinator(s)
Elly Leung
Unit rules
IREL1101/2201 Foundations of Employment Relations
Contact hours
lectures/tutorials/seminars/workshops: up to 3 hours per week
The unit offers a foundational opportunity to learn about the dynamics of employment relations, and work and the implications for society.
  • The availability of units in Semester 1, 2, etc. was correct at the time of publication but may be subject to change.
  • All students are responsible for identifying when they need assistance to improve their academic learning, research, English language and numeracy skills; seeking out the services and resources available to help them; and applying what they learn. Students are encouraged to register for free online support through GETSmart; to help themselves to the extensive range of resources on UWA's STUDYSmarter website; and to participate in WRITESmart and (ma+hs)Smart drop-ins and workshops.
  • Unit readings, including any essential textbooks, are listed in the unit outline for each unit, one week prior the commencement of study. The unit outline will be available via the LMS and the UWA Handbook one week prior the commencement of study. Reading lists and essential textbooks are subject to change each semester. Information on essential textbooks will also be made available on the Essential Textbooks. This website is updated regularly in the lead up to semester so content may change. It is recommended that students purchase essential textbooks for convenience due to the frequency with which they will be required during the unit. A limited number of textbooks will be made available from the Library in print and will also be made available online wherever possible. Essential textbooks can be purchased from the commercial vendors to secure the best deal. The Student Guild can provide assistance on where to purchase books if required. Books can be purchased second hand at the Guild Secondhand bookshop (second floor, Guild Village), which is located on campus.
  • Contact hours provide an indication of the type and extent of in-class activities this unit may contain. The total amount of student work (including contact hours, assessment time, and self-study) will approximate 150 hours per 6 credit points.