Federal rights of entry

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Federal rights of entry

The Federal Commission has emphasised the fact that union officials holding right of entry permits under the Federal Workplace Relations Act 1996 are only entitled to investigate an alleged breach of a Federal award where that award is binding on the official’s union.

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The Federal Commission has emphasised the fact that union officials holding right of entry permits under the Federal Workplace Relations Act 1996are only entitled to investigate an alleged breach of a Federal award where that award is binding on the official’s union.

In the matter before Raffaelli C (CFMEU v CSR Humes Pty Ltd; Print P0917), the CFMEU sought an order allowing a union official to enter the premises of the employer to investigate alleged breaches of the B0236 Building Materials and Quarrying Industries (NT) Award 1992 and the Workplace Relations Act 1996.

The order also sought right of entry for the purposes of holding discussions with employees who were members, or were eligible to be members, of the CFMEU.

The Commission declined to issue the order because the CFMEU was not a party to the award. Furthermore, the Commission held that it could not issue an order permitting entry to a premises for the purposes of holding discussions with employees at a "location where no award of the organisation, to which the permit holder is an officer or employee, applies".

On the other hand, the CFMEU had also sought a further order directing the parties to meet and discuss issues that might lead to the making of an agreement.

The Commission granted this part of the application because "the proposed order would act to facilitate the making of an agreement at the level of the enterprise. This would accord with the objects of Part VIB set out in s170L."

 

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