Metal industry award simplification decision

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Metal industry award simplification decision

Senior Deputy President Marsh of the Australian Industrial Relations Commission handed down her decision in the Metal Industry Award Simplification Case yesterday, 11 March 1998.

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Senior Deputy President Marsh of the Australian Industrial Relations Commission handed down her decision in the Metal Industry Award Simplification Case yesterday, 11 March 1998.

The decision establishes a new award to be known as the Metal Engineering and Associated Industries Award 1998 which replaces the previous Metal Industry Award 1984 Part 1. The new award makes a number of amendments to the previous award including:

  • a new model Anti-discrimination Clause;
  • an Enterprise Flexibility Clause which is consistent with the clause adopted by the Full Bench of the Commission in the Hospitality Award Simplification Decision, (Print P7500 [1997] 1533 IRCommA) (HR Link 193/97);
    adoption of a dual approach to the insertion of facilitative provisions by either agreement between an employer and an individual employee or between an employer and the majority of employees. Both approaches have a number of associated safeguards such as a written record of the provision and/or involvement of the union at the request of employees or by invitation of the employer. A facilitative provision allows for agreement at the enterprise on how a particular award clause is to be applied at the enterprise;
  • insertion of a consultative mechanisms clause which is discretionary and which may involve a trade union or agent where appropriate;
  • a dispute settling procedure which dictates that normal work will continue, subject to legitimate health and safety concerns, while the parties are attempting to resolve the matter in dispute;
  • deleting provisions which compel an employer to recognise shop stewards or afford right of entry to a union official. On this last point, SDP Marsh found that s285G of the Workplace Relations Act 1996"provides the only power available to be exercised governing right of entry";
  • inclusion of apprenticeship matters except sub clauses dealing with the ration of tradespersons to apprentices, and preference for current employees to be employed as adult tradespersons;
  • deleting provisions in the termination of employment clause which prohibit unfair dismissal and compel an employer to provide a statement of employment on termination. Unfair dismissal is addressed in the Workplace Relations Act;
  • insertion of a clause providing a supported wage system for people with disabilities;
  • allowing employers and employees (including individual employees) to agree on the frequency of payment of wages and to work ordinary hours on Saturday and Sunday, subject to facilitative provision safeguards being observed; and
  • extension of the average of 38 hours per week over a four week period for shift workers to an average over 12 months, again by utilisation of the appropriate facilitative provision.

The Commission also directed the parties to confer on the inclusion of an appropriate majority provision in the award so that at an enterprise where employees who are employed under the Metal Award are in the minority of award covered employees, the terms and conditions of the majority award will apply to those employees except for some specific provisions of the Metal Award.

The parties to the award have been directed to draft the appropriate order for settling the new award.

 

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