Terminating An Enterprise Bargaining Agreement

On August 29, 2017, the Fair Work Commission decided to terminate the operating contract for Murdoch University, which employs approximately 3,500 people. The main aspects of this decision are: when a negotiating settlement is designated, the Fair Labour Committee must be satisfied that, once the negotiations are over and a draft enterprise agreement is concluded, the Fair Labour Commission must be coordinated by the workers covered by the agreement. To approve an enterprise agreement, the Fair Work Commission must be satisfied: the proposed enterprise agreement application must be submitted to the Fair Work Commission within 14 days of the agreement or within an additional period of time, as permitted by the Fair Work Commission. If the existing agreement no longer provides productivity benefits or benefits, the termination of such an agreement could better support negotiations for an enterprise-level productivity-efficient agreement. This has resulted in a number of requests to terminate expired enterprise agreements, based on the defects of the existing agreement, for example. B NTEU/Murdoch University (2018). In Gangell/Lobethal Abattoirs Pty Ltd T/A Thomas Foods International (2018), an FWC staff member requested the termination of a 2008 transitional conventional instrument (considered an enterprise agreement under transitional laws). The FWC delayed the decision on the application by two months to allow both the resumption of employment negotiations and conciliation by the FWC. In addition, it was particularly urgent to consider the application, since it was alleged that the agreement was intended for revenues that were consistent with the corresponding modern arbitration award.

For an employer facing difficult and slow negotiations in a changing industry, the Murdoch University result is another sign that the termination of an existing enterprise agreement could be a workable «Game Change» to influence negotiations. On the basis of this result and the most important decisions that have already been taken, there are some key elements for which there will be a stronger argument in favour of dismissal: organisations that are negotiators (employers, employers` organisations and trade unions) for a proposed enterprise agreement must disclose certain financial benefits that they (or some close parties) can (or could) obtain over the duration of the proposed agreement.