Boral loses fight with TWU over enterprise agreement

Boral Resources loses bid to restrict TWU’s knowledge of its operations in new enterprise agreement

By Brad Gardner | November 2, 2010

The Transport Workers Union will be given greater insight into Boral Resources’ operations under a new enterprise agreement being negotiated between the two parties.

Boral yesterday failed to convince Fair Work Australia to restrict the TWU’s knowledge of its business activities, with the industrial umpire siding with the union.

The concrete transporter claimed it should only have to notify the TWU if a "major change" in the business affected union members. The union argued it and the relevant drivers should be notified of any decision.

"The flaw in Boral’s position is that it cannot be entirely sure which of its employees are members of the TWU," Fair Work Australia Vice President Michael Lawler says.

"The wording of the clause sought by the TWU is common in many agreements and ought to apply to the proposed agreement between the parties."

The TWU also managed to expand dispute resolution procedures under the agreement.

It wanted them applied to matters involving the employment relationship instead of restricting them to issues under the enterprise agreement.

Boral claimed the union’s proposal should be rejected on the basis it was not permitted under the Fair Work Act.

It wanted dispute procedures limited to the enterprise agreement and national employment standards.

But Lawler upheld the TWU’s proposal, saying it is common that issues might arise which are not contemplated when an agreement is made.

"The construction advanced by Boral would leave such disputes without any mechanism by which they could be addressed...," Lawler says.

He says those bound by the enterprise agreement would have been denied the option of allowing Fair Work Australia to resolve disputes.

Lawler says Boral could have refused to agree to the TWU’s proposals, but that would have exposed the operator to industrial action.

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