The ACTU has welcomed a decision by the Full Bench of the Australian Industrial Relations Commission (18/3/05)) to ensure employees can agree with their employers to have access to union representatives in their workplace.
ACTU President Sharan Burrow said:
“The ACTU is pleased with this decision but not entirely surprised.
The Commission has undertaken a careful and considered analysis of previous
High Court decisions relating to what pertains to the employment relationship in
light of the High Court ‘Electrolux’ decision in late last year.
The ‘Electrolux’ decision put in doubt the ability of unions and employers to
make agreements on matters that were not related to the ’employment
However, the Commission has now confirmed that certain matters that support
employees having access to a union at work are able to be included in collective
The Commission has confirmed that:
perform their role in grievance and dispute resolution processes in the
workplace and to provide time off for union training.
employees and to ensure that award wages and conditions are being complied with.
contractors or labour hire companies as this is an issue that obviously affects
their job security.
they relate to how wages are paid and are clearly matters pertaining to the
The six issues in dispute in this case were: union right of entry; union
training leave; union recognition / recognition of delegates; payroll
deductions; conditions of labour hire employees; and salary sacrifice
Of these, the unions involved in the case have won the right to include in
collective agreements all matters except provisions concerning payroll
This decision puts paid to the belief that the Electrolux case knocked-off
bargaining about the role of unions in the workplace.
The Commission in its decision rejected major aspects of the submissions from
the Federal Government and employer bodies.
Once again, this decision confirms the importance of having the Commission as
an independent umpire that settles disputes, fosters agreements between
employers and employees and is able to set minimum wages and conditions.”
Further information: AIRC decision :