Employers to challenge FWA contractors ‘pattern’ decision

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Employers to challenge FWA contractors ‘pattern’ decision

A major employer group is to challenge in the Federal Court a FWA full bench decision that approved an enterprise agreement which puts restrictions on the use of contract labour.

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A major employer group is to challenge in the Federal Court a FWA full bench decision that approved an enterprise agreement which puts restrictions on the use of contract labour.

Ai Group chief executive Heather Ridout said yesterday that the ruling on the ADJ agreement allowed a clause that employers considered was an ‘unlawful term’ under the Fair Work Act 2009.

‘These types of union clauses impede legitimate commercial arrangements between businesses and inhibit the productive organisation of work,’ Ridout said.

Overturned

‘We will argue that the FWA Full Bench decision should be overturned.’

The ADJ agreement was the first under a ‘pattern deal between the ETU and the National Electrical and Communications Association (NECA) to go before FWA for approval’.

The NECA is the peak industry body that represents the electrical and communications contracting industry in Australia.

On 13 October, in a split decision, an FWA Full Bench upheld a clause that said employers could only contract out work at rates and conditions that were not less than those in the pattern agreement.

Promote union membership

Two other clauses that obliged employers to promote union membership and loosened right-of-entry rules for dispute resolution purposes were also approved by Senior Deputy President Anne Harrison and Commissioner Julius Roe.

Senior Deputy President Peter Richards delivered a dissenting decision.

Ai Group is expected to lodge the appeal in the next week or so.

SDP Harrison and Cmr Roe said they had been reluctanct to allow Ai Group even to appeal the original FWA decision because it had never represented ADJ Contracting, and neither Ai Group nor NECA had appeared in the original case.

Ai Group chief executive Heather Ridout said yesterday that the ruling on the ADJ agreement allowed a clause employers considered was an ‘unlawful term’ under the Fair Work Act.

‘These types of union clauses impede legitimate commercial arrangements between businesses and inhibit the productive organisation of work,’ Ridout said.

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