Over the years, FCB Group has gained a great deal of experience in assisting key clients who operate in and/or support the manufacturing industry in Australia, such as Boral, CSR, Sanitarium and Allied Mills.

How FCB Group helps businesses in the manufacturing sector

Since the 1980s, the manufacturing industry in Australia has been affected by major changes, including:

  • Development of automation
  • Streamlining of supply chains
  • Cheap overseas competition
  • Fluctuating Australian dollar
  • Higher energy costs
  • Diminished labour market supply and quality
  • Emphasis on work health and safety (WHS) systems
  • Fundamental changes to the industrial relations landscape.

These changes have meant that, to remain competitive, savvy manufacturers have had to develop nimble industrial relations strategies that drive productivity and increase skills.

FCB Group knows that people are the key to keeping a manufacturing business competitive. With our specialist skills, we can help strengthen businesses by providing them with not only bespoke legal advice, but also a full suite of workplace relations management strategies.

How our lawyers can assist manufacturing businesses

FCB Workplace Law specialises in the manufacturing sector. Our lawyers can help a business to retain its competitiveness through:

Providing strategic advice on industrial relations governance and the use of labour mix, such as direct employment, on hired labour and contractor models

  • Developing innovative enterprise bargaining agreement strategies and content
  • Driving workforce engagement, including training and development of incentive schemes
  • Developing bespoke contracts and policies
  • Assisting with union management and positive engagement
  • Defending employment claims and grievances (including unfair dismissal, bullying and discrimination claims).

Enterprise bargaining

The manufacturing sector has become dominated by enterprise bargaining operating over three-year cycles. Enterprise bargaining agreements can play a crucial role in ensuring that businesses achieve better financial incomes. If they are done poorly, they can result in protracted strikes, as well as a disengaged workforce.

At FCB Workplace Law, our lawyers are experts in enterprise bargaining, and in understanding how to avoid or mitigate the impact of Industrial actions such as strikes. They can provide advice on bargaining strategy, shop floor negotiations and how to manage union claims.

How our workplace relations consultants can assist manufacturing businesses

Our workplace relations consultants can assist by streamlining workplace management processes and procedures in a business in the manufacturing industry. They are also very experienced at working with businesses in the manufacturing sector to create people management strategies aimed at developing multiskilling and flexible work practices. Our consultants can also design bespoke incentive plans as required.

Work health and safety in the manufacturing sector

As the manufacturing sector can present particular safety risks to its workers, WorkCover and WorkSafe authorities are increasingly clamping down on unsafe systems of work. An unsafe working environment exposes businesses not only to the prospect of employees being injured (even fatally), but also to crippling prosecutions. Our workplace relations consultants can help develop a strong safety culture that protects both workers and the business.

How do they do this?

Our consultants are experienced in developing and deploying WHS management systems, conducting WHS audits and advising on best practice improvements.

If things go wrong with WHS, there is a complex web of regulations regarding the management and compensation of injured workers. At FCB Group, we have the knowledge and experience to help a manufacturing business manage injured workers, as well as to advise on and assist in handling the compensation process, along with the return-to-work obligations.

Overseas workers

We are very aware that it can be difficult to manage labour needs and attract the right skills. In a globalised economy, a manufacturing business may need to attract specialised skills from overseas. In fact, we have helped the industry manage its labour needs since the early 1990s.

The team at FCB Smart Visa can help manufacturing businesses to navigate their way through Australia’s complex immigration laws, and to obtain work visas, sponsorship, permanent residency and labour agreements.

Would you like to find out more?

If you would like to find out more about how we can help with workplace relations issues in the manufacturing industry, please call us on (02) 9922 5188 or email Matthew Robinson, head of the manufacturing industry team, at