- Anthony Forsyth, The Future of Unions and Worker Representation: The Digital Picket Line (Hart Publishing, Oxford, 2022)
Anthony Forsyth is a Distinguished Professor in the Graduate School of Business and Law, RMIT University. His research focuses on collective bargaining, trade unions, union education, labour hire and the gig economy. He chaired the Victorian Government Inquiry into the Labour Hire Industry and Insecure Work (2015-16), and is the author of: The Future of Unions and Worker Representation: The Digital Picket Line (Hart Publishing, Oxford, 2022). He also runs the Labour Law Down Under Blog.
At RMIT, Anthony has worked in senior leadership roles including Director of Juris Doctor Programs (2012-2015) and Head of Department, Law (2019-2022). In 2019-2020, Anthony oversaw the development and accreditation of the RMIT Bachelor of Laws and combined law/business degrees. He runs the RMIT Law Advisory Board and the Higinbotham Lecture Series.
Anthony is closely engaged with industry, working on research projects and research/education collaborations with partners including the United Workers Union and Australian Council of Trade Unions/Australian Trade Union Institute.
In November 2021, Anthony was elected as President of the Australian Labour Law Association. He is a Member of the Advisory Committee, Centre for Future Work (Australia Institute); and sits on the advisory boards of several Australian and international academic journals.
2021, 2015 - External Consultant, International Labour Office
2005-2019 - Consultant, Corrs Chambers Westgarth, Employment Labour & Safety Team
<2000 - Prior to entering academia in 2000, extensive experience in the legal sector including at Blake Dawson Waldron (now Ashurst); Norton Rose (London); Maurice Blackburn; & Transport Workers Union.
Anthony's research in labour and employment law traces the shifting legislative agendas of Coalition and Labor Governments in Australia and connects our national discourse on workplace regulation with international debates. In particular, he focuses on the legal framework for negotiation of wages and employment conditions through collective bargaining; the relationship between trade unions and the regulatory state in countries including Australia, USA, UK and Italy; and the impact on workers and unions of multilateral business models including labour hire, supply chains and the gig economy. He examines how society can ensure that innovative technologies produce equitable outcomes consistent with the social licence of responsible businesses, through evidence-based regulatory interventions and legal support for worker representation.
His work contributes to Australian and global labour law scholarship addressing the implications of digital platforms for workers’ rights to collective representation. Much of the academic research on platform work in the last decade has focused on the effects of gig economy companies in driving down employment conditions and reducing job security, by engaging workers as independent contractors rather than as employees. In addition to those dimensions, he examines how unions and self-organised worker groups have begun to successfully turn the technology used to exploit workers engaged via apps (including through algorithmic surveillance and performance targets), back onto the platforms. Smart-phones, WhatsApp, Facebook, Twitter and other forms of ‘WorkerTech’ have become effective tools enabling workers to mobilise and organise protests, strikes and log-offs, occupying both the new ‘virtual space’ and the traditional terrain of workplace activism to contest their precarity.
Labour law, Employment law, Workplace regulation, Collective bargaining, Trade unions, Labour hire, Gig economy, Union education
Hart Publishing, Oxford
Anthony Forsyth (2022).
34:1&2 Australian Journal of Labour Law 95-111
Anthony Forsyth and Andrew Stewart (2021).
47:3 Federal Law Review 469-493
Anthony Forsyth (2019).
Funding - Australian Research Council Linkage Grant with University of Melbourne colleagues and Australian Council of Trade Unions/Trade Union Education Foundation (industry partners) - $167,395
2019 - 2021
Funding - Victorian Government acting as Chair of the Independent
2015 - 2016
Award date: 2018
Recipients: Forsyth Anthony
Award date: 2020
Recipients: Forsyth Anthony
Anthony Forsyth is a frequent contributor to public policy debate on industrial relations and workplace regulation in Australia, through opinion pieces, interviews and commentary in:
Acknowledgement of Country
RMIT University acknowledges the people of the Woi wurrung and Boon wurrung language groups of the eastern Kulin Nation on whose unceded lands we conduct the business of the University. RMIT University respectfully acknowledges their Ancestors and Elders, past and present. RMIT also acknowledges the Traditional Custodians and their Ancestors of the lands and waters across Australia where we conduct our business - Artwork 'Luwaytini' by Mark Cleaver, Palawa.
Acknowledgement of Country
RMIT University acknowledges the people of the Woi wurrung and Boon wurrung language groups of the eastern Kulin Nation on whose unceded lands we conduct the business of the University. RMIT University respectfully acknowledges their Ancestors and Elders, past and present. RMIT also acknowledges the Traditional Custodians and their Ancestors of the lands and waters across Australia where we conduct our business.