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Arkwood fails in bid to overturn FWA ruling

Trucking operator fails to convince Fair Work Australia to overturn ruling that gives the TWU access to company's employment records

By Brad Gardner | October 22, 2012

A trucking operator has failed to convince Fair Work Australia to revoke a ruling ordering the company to give the Transport Workers Union (TWU) access to its employment records.

The industrial umpire gave the TWU the power to inspect waste transporter Arkwood’s books due to a suspicion of workplace breaches.

Arkwood applied to have the order revoked and for Commissioner Ingrid Asbury, who ruled in the original matter, to stand aside from hearing the application.

It believed Asbury could not make an impartial ruling, but the commissioner rejected the claim.

“In my view, a fair-minded lay observer would not reasonably apprehend that I would not bring an impartial mind to the resolution of the issues in dispute,” she says.

“Accordingly, the application that I stand aside from hearing this application is refused and I propose to hear and determine it on the basis of the directions currently in place.”

Asbury upheld her decision to allow the union to look over Arkwood’s workplace agreements, payslips, time sheets and work diaries, despite Arkwood’s belief the TWU does not need the order to carry out its investigations.

“The essence of the allegations is that Arkwood has used individual flexibility agreements as an inducement to employees to resign their membership of the TWU and/or fail to offer individual flexibility agreements to employees who are members,” Asbury says.

“The terms of the individual flexibility agreements and the identities of those who have entered into them could, in my view, tend to prove or disprove the allegations. I was also of the view that the documents sought to be inspected by the TWU were documents that the employer was required to keep as time and wages records, and also to provide to employees.”

Arkwood was caught earlier this year employing its drivers on the wrong Award.

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