An expired workplace agreement which covered around 500 workers across Australia was scrapped by the Fair Work Commission, following an application by a United Workers Union (UWU) member.
The unnamed applicant, who was represented by UWU, was successful in having the Securemetro Agreement terminated on the basis it did not pay penalties on overtime, night shift and weekends, resulting in the majority of the workers being paid less than the Award.
The union also had the member’s name suppressed and known only to the Commission on the basis the union believed they would be subject to adverse action by their employer – Securecorp.
UWU supported termination, despite not being a party to the original agreement and sought to have the views of the relevant union considered in its own right under s 226 of the Fair Work Act.
In deciding to terminate the agreement, Commissioner Hunt also agreed to consider the views of UWU in the application, affirming the Commission’s discretion to consider the views of employee organisations under s 226 where the organisation is not a party to the Agreement, holding:
“ …the Union is not a person whose views fell expressly within the class of persons set out at s.226(b)(i), and therefore there is no obligation to consider the views of the Union in that context. I have decided, however, to consider the views of the Union in the context of taking into account all of the circumstances. The Union has given evidence that it has members covered by the Agreement. I consider it capable of expressing, on behalf of those members, their views in relation to the application. I have given relevant weight to the view of the Union, on behalf of its members, supporting termination of the Agreement for the reasons given.”
United Workers Union Property Services coordinator Damien Davie said the union welcomed the termination of the Securemetro Agreement and warned that the union would come after any employer who sought to exploit workers through substandard agreements.
“We said the agreement was dodgy and the Commission agreed. This is a huge win for the union and security guards,” Mr Davie said.
“For far too long guards at prestigious worksites such as the MCG and the National Gallery of Victoria, have been paid below Award rates on Saturdays, Sundays, and Public Holidays. These are beloved public institutions which the public go to for leisure, and in the meantime, guards working these unsociable hours to keep the public safe are not even being paid the minimums. It’s scandalous.
“Termination of the Securemetro Agreement means guards will now enjoy the penalty rates they rightfully deserve. This year for the first in many guards working at the MCG, will now being paid penalty rates during the grand final season.
“This is a great win, but it’s just the start. The United Workers Union is determined to level the playing field in security. If you’re a security employer getting an unfair competitive advantage through an Agreement which denies workers basic things like penalty rates, watch out, we’re coming for you.”
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