Metals award simplified


Metals award simplified

Senior Deputy President Marsh today handed down her order giving effect to the simplified Metal Industry Award 1984 - Part I (Print Q0445).


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Senior Deputy President Marsh today handed down her order giving effect to the simplified Metal Industry Award 1984 - Part I (Print Q0445). The order comes after an extended series of conferences following her simplification decision on 11 March 1998. The statement accompanying the order identifies matters Marsh SDP determined following the conferences.

The new award, which comes into effect on 1 July 1998, is called the Metal, Engineering and Associated Industries Award, 1998. In the Hospitality Award decision (Print P7500, [1997] 1533 IRCommA) the new award took effect from the time the order giving effect to the Award Simplification decision was handed down. 1 July is the date from which those matters remaining in an award which are not allowable cease to have effect.

The order clarifies the conditions under which facilitative provisions can be accessed and the conditions of their use. The order distinguishes:

  1. matters which may be varied by individual agreement;
  2. those which may be varied either by individual or collective agreement; and
  3. those which may be varied only by collective agreement.

Union representation may be requested by individual employees discussing variation (#1) and variations must be recorded in the time and wages records. In matters capable of individual or collective agreement, individual variation is available so long as there is no prior attempt to obtain collective agreement and only a minority of employees are affected. In matters requiring collective agreement, the majority agreement is binding on all relevant employees. Where variation is sought for:

  • the period of the payment of wages (type #2 above);
  • ordinary hours continuous shift workers (type #3 above); or
  • ordinary hours non-continuous shift workers (type #3 above),

the employer must inform unions with members of its intention to use the facilitative provision. Majority votes taken by employees without the employer’s agreement are of no effect.

The conferences also addressed the parental and personal leave provisions handed down in the Award Simplification case decision (Print P7500, [1997] 1533 IRCommA) because some parties wished to depart from them. The order adopts the Simplification case standards with slight modifications. It is understood some award parties are considering whether to request the ‘Hospitality’ bench be reconvened over the issue.

The introduction of a majority clause into the simplified award has been delayed for further discussion between the parties and report back on 15 December. A number of other provisions, including facilitative provisions, are to be reviewed following a period of operation of the award.

Finally, Marsh SDP has directed the parties to confer on the allowability of a clause dealing with suspension of employees at ACI Spotswood.


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