Roping-in award would not resolve industrial issues

Cases

Roping-in award would not resolve industrial issues

The Australian Industrial Relations Commission has declined to grant a roping-in application by the Transport Workers Union except to the extent of applying appropriate dispute settlement procedures. The Commission found that the making of the award sought by the TWU would have no effect on the rights of the employees to join an organisation of their choice or resolve the substantive issues in dispute.

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The Australian Industrial Relations Commission has declined to grant a roping-in application by the Transport Workers Union except to the extent of applying appropriate dispute settlement procedures. The Commission found that the making of the award sought by the TWU would have no effect on the rights of the employees to join an organisation of their choice or resolve the substantive issues in dispute. 
 
Moreover, the Commission considered that the making of the award in the extensive terms sought was unnecessary having regard to the nature of the dissatisfaction said to exist on the part of the workers affected. That dissatisfaction concerned a level of terms and conditions of employment not prescribed by the award. To make the roping-in award sought would not have the effect of responding in any specific way to such dissatisfaction.
 
Background
 
The TWU sought the making of a roping-in award to require Quality Bakers Australia Limited to apply the terms of the Transport Workers (Mixed Industries) Award 2002 to the employment of transport drivers delivering bread for the company in Victoria.
 
Quality Bakers requested that the Commission refrain from further hearing the application on public interest considerations.
 
The evidence suggested that the workers were not well represented by the Australian Liquor, Hospitality and Miscellaneous Workers Union (LHMU).
 
The LHMU applied for and was granted leave to intervene in the proceedings.
 
Conclusions
 
Commissioner Lewin commented:
'It seems abundantly clear that their [workers'] concerns are primarily to conduct negotiations with Quality Bakers, in which they would be represented by the TWU, to improve the extant terms and conditions of employment well beyond what the Mixed Industries Award provides.'
The Commission concluded that the fundamental issue of recognition of the TWU as a representative of those would not be achieved by further proceedings in relation to the roping-in application insofar as it deals with minimum terms and conditions of employment. That result could only be achieved by other means.
 
In light of this the Commission found it unnecessary to consider the issue of potential competition between the unions. That matter, however, was not irrelevant to the future disposition of the notification and potential proceedings in relation to it or otherwise under the Act, which might bear upon the rights and relationships between the parties and the interveners.
 
The Commission's decision therefore was to refrain from determining that part of the dispute which goes to the prescription of minimum terms and conditions of employment, with the exception of matters of dispute settlement procedures and matters incidental thereto.
 
On the evidence before the Commission it was not necessary or desirable in the public interest to conduct further proceedings to determine such matters. The Commission would refrain from conducting further proceedings in such respects accordingly.
 
See: Transport Workers Union of Australia v Aero-Care Pty Ltd and ors- AIRC (Lewin C) - PR931530 - 15 May 2003
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