Collective Bargaining and Trade Unions in Australia

The laws related to collective bargaining and trade unions in Australia are very clear and lucid.

Take the case of collective bargaining and whether the terms and conditions of employment can be devised by this method. The FWC (Fair Work Commission) determines modern awards through the process of submissions from stake holders rather than collective bargaining. Apart from this, agreements at workplace or enterprise levels are decided through bargaining between employers and employees or even between employers and unions. The terms of the agreements made must compulsorily take into account mandated clauses but otherwise can cover a broad spectrum of specific issues exclusive to that enterprise.   

The Fair Work (Registered Organisations) Act 2009 relates to the rules governing trade union recognition in the country including registration of enterprise associations and employer and employee associations. Once registered, the organisation has to follow set rules and guidelines regarding governance standards and financial management. The Act also lays down the possibilities in which this registration may be cancelled and disputes resolved.

In November 2016, a legislative scheme was passed that amended certain sections of the FWA. It stipulated that a part of the work of the Fair Work Commission be shared with a new body, the Registered Organisations Commission. A few new clauses were introduced in the amendments that covered the areas of auditing arrangements and financial disclosures by officers and related persons. 

However, this scheme is still not in force but is expected to be implemented shortly. For more details on FWA, the new body and amendments, employment lawyers in Melbourne or wherever the enterprise is located in may be contacted. They can provide updates on the latest developments. 

Trade unions have the right to stand in proceedings and represent the interest of members or potential members. They can also bargain on behalf of the members. The FWA and the Work Health and Safety Act 2011 also permit trade union representatives to enter a workplace for a specific purpose. This includes investigating any suspected flouting of the sections of the Act, exercising rights under health and safety laws and investigating any employment contract breaches.  If such issues have to be further examined, unfair dismissal lawyers are consulted to know whether it is a fit case to be adjudicated in a court of law. However, trade union representatives who hold a valid permit only may enter an employer’s premises after giving a 24 hours written notice

It is pertinent to note here that in some countries of the world, an employee is entitles to representation at the board level. This enables employee grievances to be heard at the highest level in any organisation. However, this is not applicable in Australia. 

For further details on employment law in Australia and trade union rights, get in touch with PB Lawyers, experienced and reputed employment lawyers.  

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