How To Work With Unions Under the Fair Work Act

Under the Fair Work Act 2009 all employees have the right to belong, or not belong, to a trade union. This How To guide details how to work with unions.

How to Work With Unions under the Fair Work Act

Under the Fair Work Act 2009, employer associations and unions have been able to apply to the Fair Work Commission for registration. These organisations can assist employers and employees to better understand their rights and obligations in the workplace by providing their support and advice. The Registered Organisations Commission is the independent regulator of Unions and Employer Associations. It is an independent body that oversees organisations registered under the Fair Work (Registered Organisations) Act 2009, and helps them to understand their obligations.

The role of unions

Unions can play a pivotal role in the workplace. The unions make a voice for employees and act as a bargaining representative. Along with this, the unions also work with management in resolving workplace issues while ensuring that employers are meeting their minimum obligations. Unions can also look into suspected breaches of workplace laws, discrimination laws and workplace safety laws.

Employees have the right to choose to join or not to join a union. An employer can’t pressure an employee as it will be considered as illegal. It’s also illegal to threaten or take adverse action for being or not being a union member. Actions such as dismissing a worker or changing their terms and conditions for being or not being a union member is unlawful.

What employers can’t do

  • Discriminate any employee for participating in union activities
  • Grant benefits to encourage employees to abandon the union
  • Threaten an employee based on the employees support of the union
  • Interrogate employees concerning union-organising activities

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