This a PBL exercise, must use three references and extra two from the academic journals on the list.
This is a problem base learning, need Australia law and human resource knowledge to write this.
Using Apa6th
IRHR2010 Introduction to Industrial Relations
1st Semester 2018
PBL 2: Advising Very Excellent Supermarkets (VES)
5.00pm, Monday 28th May 2018.
1,800 words
(Maximum text – the executive summary, table of contents and references are not included in the word count. No appendices please).
Electronic copy through Turnitin.
The Very Excellent Supermarket (VES) chain is owned by a well-established and large German company that is seeking establish a foothold in the Australian supermarket industry, starting in New South Wales. They have already set up one supermarket in Sydney and are well advanced with plans for two more in Sydney and one in Newcastle, each expecting to employ around 30 workers. These four, however, are just the beginning.
You are a new graduate, recently employed by VES as a Human Resources Officer. The CEO of VES (Australia), Heather Excellent (no relation!), wants to move away from using the relevant award (i.e. the General Retail Industry Award) to a new Enterprise Agreement (EA) covering all employees, existing and future. She has asked you to provide her with strategic advice on how to go about making the EA.
Heather has three main objectives with the EA:

  1. She does not like the hours of work and roster provisions in the award and wants the flexibility to operate seven days a week without restriction.
  2. She is happy to pay above award wages, but she wants to eliminate penalty rates for Saturdays and Sundays.
  3. She wants to ensure that employees are engaged with the business, but does not mind whether this involves working with the union (i.e. the SDA) or through non-union mechanisms.

Your task is to prepare advice for Heather (in the form of a report) about how to achieve her objectives in a timely manner and with minimum industrial conflict. More specifically, she wants you to address the following two questions:

  1. What are the main legal requirements that must be met in order to ensure the EA is approved by the Fair Work Commission?
  1. Within these legal constraints, how should she approach the negotiation of the EA?

Many of the following hints are the same as for PBL 1, but not all!

  1. General:
  • This is a PBL exercise, not an essay.
  • So, you should work through the general advice on the course Blackboard site about doing PBL Exercises.
  • Check out the practice exercises, which are posted at the same location.
  • The Workshops will also provide discussions and exercises that assist you in preparing and writing PBL Exercises.
  1. Scoping the issues:
  • An essential element of problem solving is defining the problem and ensuring that your solution is sharply focused on solving that problem.
  • In this PBL exercise, scoping the issues means explaining to the reader at the beginning the nature of the problem and how you will address it. Then, in the rest of the report, you deliver what you said at the beginning.
  • This is addressed in Assessment Item A (Scoping of the issue).
  1. Dealing with the “facts”:
  • There are not that many “facts” in the scenario, so use them as clues to meeting Heather’s objectives.
  • At the same time, don’t make assumptions or make assertions about new or additional “facts”. This is important to the realism of the report: Heather will not want to be treated like an idiot and be told something about her organisation that may be incorrect.
  • This can partly be avoided through your writing style. For example, rather than simply asserting (or assuming) facts, use words like:
    • “the literature says this … might be so”, or
    • VES is part of the larger retail industry, so research about other parts of retail might be helpful in understanding VES, or
    • “Cappelli’s (2017) article about the retail industry in USA says…”.
  • The better your research and the better you relate your research to the specifics of VES, the more plausible will be your suggestions and the more likely Heather will be to accept your recommendations.
  1. The legal requirements:
  • The first question Heather is asking you to address is about the Australian law. This is not especially complicated, but you will need to provide a nice simple summary of what employers need to do if they are to comply with the law of collective agreement making.
  • The law is also not always certain and can change depending on recent judgments by courts or regulators. However, we do you not want you to devote time or space to describing the latest decisions – the basic will do, with a warning to Heather about the need to subsequently get more detailed advice.
  1. A strategic approach?
  • The law places constraints about what employers can do, but it also creates opportunities. In other words, employers (like VES) have many options open to them, depending on what they are trying to achieve.
  • When you discuss the options (and ultimately make recommendations), you need details: How should the arrangements be set up? Who should do what? Do you want to work with the union or against it? Are some unions or union officials easier to deal with than others? How do these issues affect your recommendations?
  • You also need to discuss the risks and/or potential benefits of each option or recommendation: explain how the process you recommend might work and with what possible outcomes? At the same time, could it go wrong? Why? What do you need to do so you can avoid the risks and gain the benefits?
  • Your analysis should be evidence based. So, on all these points, previous research is helpful because it shows you what worked where and when! But you must acknowledge the importance of context – the research was invariably undertaken in one context, while the VES is likely to be a very different context. How can you transfer the findings from one context and make them work in a different context?
  1. Values or pragmatism?
  • As discussed early in the course, different values might lead to different recommendations about how to deal with the situation.
  • A unitarist might take quite a different approach to this EA compared to a pluralist. Indeed, some pluralists might prefer to deal with the union but keep it at arms’ length, while other pluralists might embrace the union as a partner.
  • At the same time, you might decide that values need to take a back seat to the practicalities of the situation. So, perhaps it depends more on what you think is expedient.
  1. Be realistic about costs:
  • As well as the points already made above about realism, remember also that any recommendation you make that will significantly increase costs is likely to be rejected by the CEO.
  • The retail industry is very competitive, often on the basis of price. It is also labour intensive, which means increased labour costs are likely to flow through to either increased prices or lower profits.
  • If your proposal does involve some increase to costs you will need to explain why this is justified. Perhaps think of it as an investment that is needed in order to realise benefits (ie. “you can’t make money without spending it!”). But, you will need to make the argument – provide the business case, albeit in simple terms.
  1. Address the Assessment Criteria:
  • Remember that you must write up your exercise addressing the Assessment Criteria.
  • The Feedback Sheet incorporating these criteria, which will be used to record marks and comments on each report, is attached at the end of this document.


There are many different types of papers/assignments submitted in the real world of business and in the study of business in universities. The format for this exercise is a report, as it is described on page 4 of the Gold Guide. This brings the following expectations of the exercise’s structure:

  1. Title page:
  1. Executive summary:
  • This should provide a snapshot of the whole report including key findings and recommendations.
  • This is not an Introduction, it is a synopsis.
  1. Table of contents:
  • This list of numbered sections in the report and their page numbers is useful, even in a short assignment like this because it:
    • encourages the student to think about the overall argument and its constituent parts, and
    • assists the reader in quickly understanding the overall argument and the main steps by which that argument is exposed.
  1. Introduction: (approximately 10-15% of word count)
  • An effective (and clearly identified) introduction is essential if the first Assessment Criterion [‘ Scoping of the issue’] is to be addressed. This introduction should include:
    • Clear (but brief) description of the scenario and the question, what the question is asking you to do, how you will answer the question and the boundaries you are placing around your answer.
    • In other words, there will always be multiple ways to answer the question / solve the problem. So, you need to demonstrate how your particular solution fits within the broad problem presented in the scenario. This is scoping!
    • Definitions of key terms/concepts.
    • A brief plan that anticipates the argument to come.
  1. Body: (approximately 80-85% of word count)
  • This is the main part of the report, with sections and sub-sections (and corresponding headings) that address the purpose of the report and are distinguished by appropriate headings and sub-headings.
  • This is where the remaining assessment criteria will be addressed.
  • Clearly, you must develop the argument and the structure you anticipated in the Introduction!
  • Don’t use too few headings.
  • Don’t use too many headings, especially in such a short assignment.
  • Don’t use ‘Body’ as a heading in your report.
  1. Conclusion: (approximately 5% of word count)
  • This states the major inferences that can be drawn from the discussion and summarises any recommendations.
  1. Recommendations
  • Numbered (no more than two or three!), clearly stated, specific and actionable.
  • Naturally, any recommendations will flow directly from information and argument presented in the body of the report and will definitely not be a surprise to the reader!
  1. Referencing
  • Cite at least the five required references (you could lose up to 2.5 marks if you don’t).
  • Use the APA system of referencing (described on page 3 of the Gold Guide).
  • You could lose up to 2.5 marks if you do not do this properly.
  1. No appendices
  • You should be able to present your argument in the text.

There are some strict requirements in terms of sources used in the report and their referencing. This is to ensure effective learning and minimum standards, while also providing the opportunity for additional work that will result in additional reward.

  1. Essential references:

You must read, use and cite the following three references. Failure to do so will incur a penalty up to 10% (ie. 2.5 marks out of 25):

  • Stewart, A. (2018). Stewart’s Guide to Employment Law. Sydney, Federation Press, 6th *

Chapter 8 of this book on “Enterprise Agreements” gives a good introduction to the law. You probably won’t need the later sections – concentrate on pages 143-80.

  • Mortimer, D. E., & Ingersoll, L. (2015). The impact of deregulation on employment relations in the Australian retail industry. Employment Relations Record, 15(2), 43-60.

This article provides a review of research undertaken on the retail industry up until around 2014, with a special interest on managerial strategy. As such, it is a good source of information but presents no original knowledge. A lot has happened in the industry since then too!

  • Price, R., Bailey, J & Pyman, A. (2014). Varieties of collaboration: the case of an Australian retail union. International Journal of Human Resource Management, 25(6): 748–761.

This article analyses the strategies used by the SDA (Shop, Distributive and Allied Employees’ Association), arguing that they can be seen as “collaborative” towards employers.

  1. At least two more references from academic journals:

In addition, you must find and effectively use at least two (2) relevant articles from quality academic journals (see the list below) in developing your report and supporting your arguments. A key part of your assessment is to demonstrate that you can undertake research, find relevant empirical evidence and apply theoretical principles to resolve a real world problem.
Some of the leading peer-reviewed industrial relations and employment relations journals are listed below:

Australian journals International journals
Asia Pacific Journal of Human Resources
Australian Bulletin of Labour
Economic and Labour Relations Review
Journal of Industrial Relations
Labour & Industry
British Journal of Industrial Relations (UK)
Economic and Industrial Democracy (Sweden)
Employee Relations (UK)
Industrial and Labor Relations Review (USA)
Industrial Relations (USA)
Industrial Relations Journal (UK)
International Labour Review (ILO, Geneva)
Work, Employment and Society (UK)



  1. More reading and references at your discretion:

Beyond these five required references (ie. the three essential, plus two journal articles) we encourage you to undertake your own research and expand your range of references. Consistent with the first dot point under Assessment Criterion B (Substantive content), the more and better references, the better mark you will get.
You may wish, for example, to consult the Fair Work Ombudsman’s guide to enterprise bargaining:
The Fair Work Commission also offers a step-by-step guide:

PBL Exercise 1: Advising Very Excellent Supermarket (VES)
Feedback Sheet

TOTAL MARK =    / 25
A. Scoping of the issue (maximum 5 marks)
·   Clear (but brief) description of the scenario and the question, what the question is asking you to do, how you will answer the question and the boundaries you are placing around your answer.
·   Definition of key terms/concepts.
·   Brief plan that anticipates the argument to come.
  / 5
B. Substantive content (maximum 8.5 marks)
·   Research skills, demonstrated by the range of information you provide and the number/quality of references from which the information comes.
·   Accuracy of the information/data provided.
·   The relevance of this information to the question.
·   Awareness of the strengths and weaknesses of different information sources, including the academic literature, other material, and personal experience as the bases of argument.
  / 8.5
C. Quality of argument (maximum 12.5 marks)
·      Development of a logical and well-structured argument which directly addresses the question.
·      Use of substantive detail to support the argument.
·      Critical analysis of competing ideas, alternative data and potential counter arguments.
·      Conclusion which draws the threads of the argument together and reminds the reader how the question has been successfully answered.
  / 12.5
D. Essential requirements/possible penalties
·      Essential to use at least five references (maximum penalty: loss of 2.5 marks):
→      You must use the three compulsory references provided in the Guidelines.
→      You must also use a minimum of two articles from quality academic journals list on page 6 of the Guidelines.
·      Proper citation of sources according to academic conventions. See Gold Guide on Blackboard under the Learning Support tab. (maximum penalty: loss of 2.5 marks)
Deduct marks? Only if essential criteria not met.


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