Sharp increase in EA terminations
Many of you will remember the 2015 RTBU case against Aurizon’s attempt to terminate the QLD Enterprise Agreement. Ultimately, the Fair Work Commission ruled in Aurizon’s favour, allowing the company to terminate a series of hard-fought union agreements.
This was a crucial case and the outcome was a slap in the face for workers. Since then, there has been a dramatic increase in employers attempting to terminate so-called “legacy” agreements, according to new government data reported by Workplace Express (paywall).
The data shows that the FWC terminated 416 agreements in the first three quarters of 2016 alone. Around half of these covered construction and manufacturing workers and the majority were union agreements. This is a sharp rise from 275 terminations in 2015 and 156 in 2014.
The Department of Employment says that employers aren’t “avoiding” the Fair Work Act when they seek to terminate enterprise agreements and use labour hire (providing minimum wages are paid). But it’s clear to us that this is just another example of employers taking advantage of anti-worker governments to undercut wages and conditions.