Awards and agreements round-up

Cases

Awards and agreements round-up

AWAs that cover an entire non-union workforce could effectively deny a union the right to enter a workplace as the union would have no relevant connection to the workplace.

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AWAs can block unions' right of entry

Key point from this case: AWAs that cover an entire non-union workforce could effectively deny a union the right to enter a workplace as the union would have no relevant connection to the workplace.

This is not the case with collective agreements as their very nature preserves a role for the relevant awards.

Details: A Full Bench of the AIRC has ruled on the question as to whether the holder of an entry permit maintained entry rights under s285C of the Workplace Relations Act 1996 when an award was displaced by another industrial instrument.

The Full Bench found the employer-supermarket chain had the right to stop the NUW from entering its warehouses.

The employees were all covered by AWAs and s170VQ(1) of the Workplace Relations Act. If just one employee was covered by an award or collective agreement and other conditions under s285C were satisfied, then a union would be able to enter the workplace to hold discussions.

See: National Union of Workers v ALDI Foods Pty Limited - FB of AIRC - 23 February 2004.

Collective agreement does not override right to enter

In the other case (involving the CFMEU) a Full Bench examined a clause in an agreement between a mining company and its employees that purported to displace any other awards or agreements.

The Full Bench said the award still has some application, because the Workplace Relations Act says that the certified agreement merely prevails over it, rather than excludes it.

See: Construction, Forestry, Mining and Energy Union - FB of AIRC - 23 February 2004.

Court rejects increase in spread of ordinary hours

Key point from this case: An employer cannot make a substantial change to the spread of ordinary hours for an individual employee under an award provision designed for minor changes.

Details: The Industrial Court of Queensland has found that the State Clerical Award cannot be interpreted to allow an increase in the spread of ordinary hours.

President Hall said a facilitative provision allowing the specified spread of ordinary hours to be altered by agreement between employer and individual employees did not mean ordinary hours could be changed from 6.30am to 6.30pm Monday to Fridays to include: 12.15am to 6.15pm Mondays to Fridays; or between midnight and 7am Mondays to Fridays; or between 12.30am and 6.30am Mondays to Fridays.

Qld enterprise award designed to rationalise coverage

Key point from this case: Enterprise awards in Queensland require approval of a Full Bench of the Qld IRC when major changes to industrial regulation are involved.

Details: The Queensland IRC considered an application by a residential aged care provider for a new enterprise award. The organisation was seeking to rationalise the number of industrial instruments that apply to its workforce, which were covered by the AWU and LHMU.

Commissioner Fisher said that the Commission was unaware of any other such application being made in this jurisdiction previously.

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