Hand over relevant information, employer told

Cases

Hand over relevant information, employer told

The Fair Work Commission has ordered one employer to hand over relevant information, while finding another had failed to comply with good faith bargaining requirements.

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The Fair Work Commission has ordered one employer to hand over relevant information, while finding another had failed to comply with good faith bargaining requirements.

These four cases illustrate rulings on four bargaining-related matters.

Hand over relevant information, employer told


An employer's plan to redevelop and automate operations would result in significant workforce ramifications. Employees were advised if they would receive training for new roles: if employees were not selected for training it was assumed they had limited prospects of ongoing employment.

Under the consultation clause the union sought 'relevant information' regarding the proposed changes, including details on the selection procedure for training. The employer argued two jurisdictional objections which the commission rejected. 

The commission applied the common and ordinary meaning of 'relevant information' and ordered the employer provide the information to the applicant.

Union v PSH P/L [2015] FWC 1280 – Sams DP – 26 February 2015

Chance of agreement – genuine bargaining required


A FWC full bench ordered the mining company to provide the union with a genuine proposal for a new enterprise agreement, after finding it failed to comply with the Fair Work Act's good faith bargaining requirements.

The full bench said senior deputy president Hamberger had not fully appreciated the situation. It was difficult to understand why he concluded the parties' positions were so far apart that an agreement was unlikely, and that there wouldn't be any benefit in any further negotiations.

APESM v PE [2015] FWCFB 1451 (3 March 2015)

Scope order issued to facilitate bargaining


Commissioner Cambridge decided to issue a scope order as that would have some probability of promoting fair and efficient bargaining.

The ‘do nothing option’ would not, on any objective analysis, produce any results. The unions had acknowledged bargaining had stalled, but they had failed to propose any alternative means to resolve the deadlock.

APT and APA v AMWU & ors [2015] FWC 699 (30 January 2015)

Genuinely seeking agreement at some point sufficient


The employer’s challenge to a protected industrial action ballot was rejected. The FWC noted it was critical to identify the agreement the union had been genuinely seeking to satisfy the s443(1)(b) test.

The key point was that the union had been seeking the agreement at some point before the commission's decision and this was enough.

The employer’s interpretation would mean the commission would be required to ignore any evidence on bargaining from the time a union made an application until the hearing of the matter. There was nothing in the words of s443 to support such a restriction.

Supermarket v Union [2015] FWCFB 379 (30 January 2015) 

The bottom line: The Fair Work Commission can be called upon to facilitate bargaining by parties involved in enterprise bargaining.
 
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