Ending An Enterprise Agreement
On August 29, 2017, the Fair Work Commission decided to terminate the operating contract for Murdoch University, which employs approximately 3,500 people. One of the most important aspects of this decision, however, is that it is not enough to offer, answer questions and explain the agreement to workers on demand, particularly when the proposed agreement removes important rights that workers would otherwise have enjoyed. The enterprise agreements contained very generous provisions, which were a legacy of a time when the company was owned by the state and were essentially “public” conditions (for example. B no forced dismissal). These provisions were too complex and presented unjustified and costly restrictions on the efficiency and productivity of Aurizon`s business. It is not contrary to the public interest to do so; The contract should be terminated taking into account the views of individuals (employers, workers and trade union organisations) and the likely effects of redundancy on them. The old EAs can be terminated on request from the FWC, with the agreement of the employer and employees, or at the employer`s sole request. In the past, it was difficult to get the agreement of the FWC to lay off a former EA without the consent of the workers. Under the Fair Work Act, the FWK must consider the public interest in review if a contract is to be terminated. The FWC has a wide discretion to examine both the objectives of the legislation and, importantly, the impact that redundancy will have on employers and workers and their ability to negotiate effectively.
2. The downward trend in Murdoch University`s financial and operational activities has been demonstrated. One of the topics discussed by the university was that the termination of the enterprise agreement would remove the restrictions and allow the university to be more agile in a difficult market. The university identified specific provisions of the agreement that it considered problematic and provided evidence as to why they were problematic. For example, the university considered the fault and unsatisfactory benefits provisions as priority areas of evolution, in particular because of the normative and multi-step procedure that was heavily involved in determining a result under these provisions. AMMA labour relations lawyer Lindsay Carroll outlines two recent Fair Labour Commission (FWC) decisions that defend the right of coal-sector employers to terminate enterprise agreements and provide alternatives to traditional negotiations on alternative agreements. Enterprise agreements have a nomine, but when the agreement expires, the contract is maintained until the termination or replacement. Without these three elements, we advise that any attempt to terminate an agreement is probably not at stake. At trial, the Sedgman agreement was denounced in recognition of the fact that it was inherited from Peabody Energy when it involved mining in the Coppabella and Moorvale coal mines and that termination would facilitate the negotiation of a new enterprise contract that would bring productivity benefits.
3. The FwK`s decision makes it clear that this type of request is an option during negotiations: “There is no predisposition to consider it contrary to the public interest to terminate an agreement during negotiations. The termination of an agreement could better support the negotiation of an enterprise-level productivity-efficient agreement.” The FWC acknowledged that this result would change the context of the negotiations and favour the employer.