Employers have been put on notice by the FWC that they cannot rely solely on precedent in order to have their enterprise agreements approved. In recent decisions, the tribunal has knocked back enterprise agreement applications - and sought undertakings under the Better Off Overall Test or ‘BOOT’ as it is more commonly known - due to concerns over whether employee entitlements were sufficient, relating to aspects where similar enterprise agreements had previously been approved.
In a recent decision an agreement approval application was refused by Senior Deputy President (SDP) O’Callaghan, due to concerns that the employees to be covered by the proposed agreement had not genuinely understood and agreed to the terms.
In a safe and unspectacular decision, a Fair Work Commission (FWC) Full Bench has chosen to take a very safe position on modifying Individual Flexibility Arrangement (IFA)’s in the latest modern award review.
The Fair Work Amendment Act 2012 includes a provision for establishing a new process for determining which funds are to be included in modern awards as default superannuation funds, for those employees who have not chosen a fund.
The new Guidelines, which apply to all projects that were the subject of an expression of interest or tender let for the first time on or after 1 May 2012, reflect the changes in legislation with the introduction of the Fair Work Act 2009 (FW Act).
The issues at the heart of the recent Qantas bargaining dispute were not wage increases or other financial benefits for the employees involved. They ran to the heart of how Qantas would be able to conduct its future business in a challenging business environment. These were not matters that were capable of being lawfully negotiated under Work Choices – a point lost in the debate and all the disruption in the aftermath of the dispute. Our article discusses the history of arbitration in Australia - and whether the government should heed union calls for increased intervention from the "umpire".
In light of the recent employer response action taken by Qantas to end the protracted period of industrial action against it by unions, we highlight the uncertainty that the Federal Government’s Fair Work Act legislation can create in relation to the threat of industrial action relating to enterprise bargaining.