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Workplace Relations Amendment (Transition to Forward with Fairness) Bill 2008

Schedule 5 Transitional arrangements for existing pre-reform Federal agreements etc.

   

Workplace Relations Act 1996

1  After clause 2 of Schedule 7

Insert:

2A   Commission may extend or vary pre-reform certified agreements

             (1)  The Commission may, on application by any person bound by a pre-reform certified agreement, by order:

                     (a)  extend the nominal expiry date of the agreement; or

                     (b)  vary the terms of the agreement.

             (2)  However, before making the order, the Commission must be satisfied that:

                     (a)  all parties bound by the agreement genuinely agree to the extension or variation; and

                     (b)  none of the parties have, after the introduction day:

                              (i)  organised or engaged in, or threatened to organise or engage in, industrial action in relation to another party to the agreement; or

                             (ii)  applied for a protected action ballot under section 451 in relation to proposed industrial action; and

                     (c)  in the case of a variation—the agreement as varied would not result, on balance, in a reduction in the overall terms and conditions of employment of the employees bound by the agreement under:

                              (i)  any transitional award that would regulate any term or condition of employment of the employees if the employer had been an excluded employer immediately before the reform commencement; and

                             (ii)  any law of the Commonwealth, or of a State or Territory, that the Commission considers relevant.

             (3)  If the Commission extends the nominal expiry date of the agreement, the extended date cannot be more than 3 years after the date on which the order is made.

             (4)  If the agreement was made under section 170LJ or 170LK of the pre-reform Act, the employees bound by the agreement are taken, for the purposes of paragraph (2)(a), to agree to the extension or variation if a valid majority of the employees bound by the agreement at the time of making the extension or variation agree to it.

             (5)  Section 170LE of the pre-reform Act applies to deciding whether a valid majority of the employees agree to the extension or variation as if references in that section to making an agreement were references to making the extension or variation.

             (6)  To avoid doubt, the terms and conditions of employment under a transitional award may, for the purposes of paragraph (2)(c), include terms and conditions that did not apply on the reform commencement, or that have been varied since the reform commencement.

             (7)  The provisions of the pre-reform Act apply, in relation to an extension or variation to which this clause applies, to the same extent that they apply, because of clause 2, in relation to a variation under paragraph 170MD(6)(a) of the pre-reform Act.

             (8)  In this clause:

introduction day means the day on which the Bill that became the Workplace Relations Amendment (Transition to Forward with Fairness) Act 2008 was introduced into the House of Representatives.

2  After subclause 4(1) of Schedule 7

Insert:

          (1A)  A person must not:

                     (a)  take or threaten to take any industrial action or other action; or

                     (b)  refrain or threaten to refrain from taking any action;

with intent to coerce another person to agree, or not to agree, to the extension of the nominal expiry date of, or the variation of, a pre-reform certified agreement under clause 2A.

3  Subclause 4(2) of Schedule 7

Omit “Subclause (1)”, substitute “This clause”.

4  Subclause 4(3) of Schedule 7

Omit “subclause (1)”, substitute “this clause”.

5  Subclause 28(1) of Schedule 7

Repeal the subclause, substitute:

             (1)  An old IR agreement ceases to be in operation if it is terminated under clause 29A.

6  At the end of Part 6 of Schedule 7

Add:

29A   Termination of old IR agreements

             (1)  A party to an old IR agreement may apply to the Commission for the agreement to be terminated.

             (2)  The Commission may, by order, terminate the agreement if the Commission is satisfied that all of the parties to the termination agree to the termination.