Award covered so no unfair contract action - Qld. Ind. Ct.

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Award covered so no unfair contract action - Qld. Ind. Ct.

The applicant employee's contract of service was effectively covered by a registered industrial award and so he did not have jurisdiction to bring an action under the unfair contract provisions of the Queensland industrial legislation.

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The applicant employee's contract of service was effectively covered by a registered industrial award and so he did not have jurisdiction to bring an action under the unfair contract provisions of the Queensland industrial legislation.

The Qld Industrial Court was asked to determine a preliminary matter about jurisdiction in an application concerning an alleged unfair contract.

Background

The respondent employer objected to the applicant’s application regarding an alleged unfair contract before the Commission on the basis that the application was not 'a contract of service that is not covered by an industrial instrument'.

The question for the Court was whether the whole of the applicant’s contract of service was 'not covered by' the Readymix Holdings (Staff) Award 2003 within the meaning of s276 of the Qld Industrial Relations Act 1999?

Conclusions

President Hall said the answer was 'no' to this question.

His Honour found that given the inexactness of the language, that the intention is to prevent review of individual contracts of service to intrude into review of any applicable industrial instrument, because the instrument has collided with and displaced contractual terms, because the parties at some time accepted that the industrial instrument rendered contractual arrangements over the same territory to be unnecessary, or because the parties expressly agreed to be contractually bound (in part) by the terms of the industrial instrument.

The essential point was that the Qld Industrial Relations Act 1999 and the Federal Workplace Relations Act 1996 provide mechanisms for the making of awards and the making of individual and collective agreements and that, once the gauntlet has been run, the fairness of the instrument cannot be revisited by an individual under s.276 [unfair contracts provision].

R Foster and Readymix Holdings Pty Ltd – QICt (Hall P) – C/2006/45 – 30/8/06

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Employment and other contracts in issue

  

 

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