Order in the court: What's happening in the legal space in 2019

Ashvini Ambihaipahar

The ETU National Junior Industrial Officer discusses three major legal concerns for 2019. 

It’s a big year ahead for the ETU, with elections on the cards in NSW and federally. But there are plenty of goings on in the courtrooms across the country too.

ETU National Junior Industrial Officer Ashvini Ambihaipahar discusses three legal matters currently on the go.

Skene – what is ETU doing?

Last year the WorkPac Pty Ltd v Skene Decision confirmed that a truck driver engaged and paid as a casual employee was, in fact, a permanent employee and was awarded back payment for leave entitlements. The casual truck driver was engaged on a regular and continuous basis, working fixed rostered hours over a long period of time.

What is ETU doing?

The Union has launched a call out to all members who:

  1. Are/were employed as a casual employee; and
  2. work/worked regular and hours for a long period of time; and
  3. Know/knew what their roster arrangement is/was in advance; and
  4. Work/worked a flat hourly rate for all ordinary hours of work. 

To see if they may be entitled to paid annual and personal leave. If you think you have a claim, please email casuals@etuaustralia.org.au

ETU National Junior Industrial Officer Ashvini Ambihaipahar (L) out fighting the good fight.

NSW multi-employer construction

Recently, the ETU went head-to-head with several large electrical contracting companies in NSW who pursued a multi-employer enterprise agreement. Workers from Stowe, Fredon, Heyday and Star voted against the multi-employer enterprise agreement. However, Goldline, NCI and FIP have recently filed the multi-employer enterprise agreement in the FWC for approval. The ETU opposes the application for this multi-employer enterprise agreement as it:

  1. was not genuinely agreed to according to the Fair Work Act;
  2. misleads that the union had any engagement in the negotiations in the agreement;
  3. used the ETU’s name and trademark without its consent; and/or
  4. contains unlawful terms.

Why do we oppose multi-enterprise bargaining?

Multi-enterprise bargaining may sound similar to the industry bargaining that the ETU, and trade union movement, are fighting for. It is not. It allows multiple employers to get together and use their collective size set the bargaining agenda for all their employees, while robbing employees of the ability to use their collective might.

For example, with multi-enterprise bargaining, employees cannot have the option of taking protected action and cannot force the employers to comply with their good faith bargaining obligations. Not even the Commission can intervene if the employers aren’t acting in good faith. This leaves the employees with no leverage at the bargaining table and at the mercy of the employers to determine their wages and conditions.

 Ash fights for workers' rights 24/7.

Federal election – Change the Rules

The Change the Rules campaign has picked up momentum over the past year and the federal election is just around the corner. But what rules need changing in the industrial relations/employment law sphere? The ETU is committed to:

  1. Getting rid of the ABCC;
  2. Working towards job security which includes, stop rampant casualisation and end labour hire and sham contracting rorts;
  3. Align Australian laws with International Labour Organisation standards in respect of taking industrial action;
  4. Improving the modern awards which will remove/minimise the incentive for employers to termination agreements. 

This federal election will determine whether we can improve workers’ rights for our future generation or continue going down the path of destroying generations of hard work who fought for better working conditions.

Remember to put the Liberals last this election! That’s where they put you.


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