There is a way for an employer, worker or union that is covered by an expired enterprise agreement to ask the FWC to terminate the contract. In accordance with Section 225 of the Fair Work Act 2009 (Cth), the Fair Work Commission must terminate an expired enterprise contract if it is completed: Aurizon submitted that the terms of Section 226 were met and that the Commission was required to terminate expired enterprise contracts. On August 29, 2017, the Fair Work Commission decided to terminate the operating contract for Murdoch University, which employs approximately 3,500 people. One of the most important aspects of this decision is that all the recent successful redundancies of enterprise agreements have been hard won by the Commission. In addition to the length of the proceedings at trial, they have also been the subject of complaints from trade unions. 1. The employer and the union began negotiations in April 2016 and the first round of substantive negotiations took place on 18 May 2016. The request for dismissal took place after about 27 meetings, as well as trade union actions, social media campaigns and applications to the FWC and the courts. The FWC was satisfied that the parties would not reach an agreement in the foreseeable future. For companies operating in particularly demanding sectors such as extractive and manufacturing, these cases offer clear and binding powers for the principles that would be applied to a request to terminate an enterprise agreement after the nominal expiry date. In the end, the Commission accepted Griffin Coal`s request to terminate the enterprise contract. This decision was subsequently appealed, but the Commission`s full-fledged bank upheld the original decision and found that all relevant factors had been considered fairly and fairly.
It is interesting to note that in this case, the employer had accepted a clause in the enterprise agreement that, if the employer wished to terminate the agreement, it would maintain the essential conditions established until a replacement agreement was replaced. This is what came into play when the FWC reviewed the termination application and AGL had to respect the undertaking. In the first case, the employer proposed the obligation to maintain the terms for three months after the end of the contract. This was a subject that was at the centre of the complaint and Loy Yang proposed at that time a commitment of up to three years, which was essential to Full Bench`s decision. The termination of a contract has no effect unless it is approved by the Commission. If an enterprise agreement has exceeded its nominal expiry date, it will remain operational unless it is terminated or replaced. However, anyone covered by the agreement can ask the Fair Work Commission (FWC) to terminate it. A number of FWC decisions now show that employers have increasingly succeeded in influencing this status quo by approaching the FWC to terminate the expired contract. Perhaps inspired by this trend, a request from employees to achieve a similar result and terminate a long-expired Coles enterprise agreement is currently pending before the FWC. The problem is that the circumstances of negotiating an enterprise agreement can change quickly. When companies, or even entire industries, face difficult economic conditions, as is currently the case in the mining sector, where declining global demand leads to a sharp decline in production and profits, concepts that seemed advantageous in one phase can suddenly become unattractive to the employer.
Since the Fair Work Act 2009 provides that enterprise agreements continue to exist after their nominal expiry date, unless they are replaced or terminated, the parties may remain bound by legacy conditions established 5 or 10 years ago (or more) in a totally different economic climate.