Federal Bill aims to halt State bargaining fees

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Federal Bill aims to halt State bargaining fees

The Federal Government has introduced a Bill to effectively prevent State agreements which allow for compulsory union fees to apply to non-union members.

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The Federal Government has introduced a Bill to effectively prevent State agreements which allow for compulsory union fees to apply to non-union members. These fees have been called 'bargaining agents fees' and 'bargaining fees'.

 

 

The Federal Government is relying on the Corporations Power under the Constitution on which to base this legislation. This is a controversial application of this power and it may be subject to challenge.

   

The Workplace Relations Amendment (Extended Prohibition of Compulsory Union Fees) Bill 2004  was introduced on 11 August and extends the prohibition of bargaining agents fees in federal  awards and agreements certified under the Workplace Relations Act 1996 to include State agreements.  

Bargaining agent fees require employees who are not union members to pay fees to the relevant union for bargaining services the  non-unionists did not request, but for which they nevertheless received the benefit.

 

 

The Bill proposes to amend the freedom of association provisions of the Workplace Relations Act 1996 to extend the prohibition on bargaining services fee clauses to State employment agreements to which a constitutional corporation is a party.

To achieve this, the Bill would:

  • amend the definition of bargaining services to include services provided by an industrial association in relation to a State employment agreement, and

  • provide that a provision of a State employment agreement to which a constitutional corporation is a party is void to the extent that it requires payment of a bargaining services fee.

See: Workplace Relations Amendment (Extended Prohibition of Compulsory Union Fees) Bill 2004.  

Explanatory Memorandum

 

Second Reading Speech

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