Recently, the CFMEU has sent out mass correspondence regarding enterprise bargaining agreements (“EBA”) and called for employers to start negotiations. Seemingly, this has been specifically targeted at companies who have the nominally expired CFMEU 2016-2018 Pattern EBA.
In short, this correspondence:
- seeks to commence bargaining between the employer, its employees and the CFMEU for a new EBA;
- encloses a Notice of Employee Representational Rights (“NERR”); and
- requests the employer to agree to bargain in writing and confirm this to the CFMEU within 7 days.
If your business has received this notice, and you’re not sure where to go from here, that’s where we can come in and assist you!
Where to from here?
Under the Fair Work Act 2009 (Cth) bargaining only commences when:
- the employer agrees to or initiates bargaining; or
- a majority support determination (“MSD”) is made by the FWC.
Therefore, employers should be aware that, despite this correspondence, they do not need to distribute the NERR or agree to bargain, unless:
- they are ready and want to commence negotiations for a new EBA; or
- a MSD has been obtained from the Fair Work Commission (“FWC”) by the CFMEU.
Employers should also know, the only way the CFMEU, or any union for that matter, can obtain a MSD is by proving the majority of employees want to bargain for a new EBA. In short, without a MSD from the FWC, an employer is not obliged to commence EBA negotiations or distribute the NERR.
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