On 8 February 2017 HACSU represented Members in the Fair Work Commission regarding the application by FBC-NW for approval of the Enterprise Agreement.
Throughout bargaining, HACSU raised a number of issues with the proposed Agreement that needed correction if FBC-NW hoped to have the Agreement approved by the Fair Work Commission and pass the necessary tests.
Unfortunately HACSU’s attempts to properly draft the Agreement and make the necessary improvements to it prior to the vote were not supported by FBC-NW.
The Fair Work Commission is prevented from approving an Agreement if substantial changes are required to be made to it after the vote by employees. CEO Douglass Doherty addressed the Commission on the substantial changes the Agreement requires to ensure it leaves workers better off overall than the Award. The Commission asked Mr. Doherty whether he agreed that the changes required are substantial. Mr. Doherty agreed that they are. The Commissioner then promptly dismissed the application for approval.
After the hearing HACSU sought from Mr. Doherty his assurance that proposed pay increases would be made regardless of the failure of the Agreement. The Agreement need not have passed for FBC-NW to give Members long awaited pay increases. Disappointingly no commitment was given. A commitment to begin bargaining again and prepare an improved Agreement for vote was given which is welcome news. HACSU will seek to clarify what FBC-NW’s intention is in coming days. Members will be advised as soon as further information is known.
HACSU has written and drafted hundreds of Enterprise Agreements. We have never had one of OUR Agreements rejected by the Commission. We call on FBC-NW not to be bloody minded and allow us to make necessary changes to ensure the Agreement passes muster.