Members should be aware that the CFMEU has sent out bulk correspondence regarding commencement of enterprise agreement negotiations. We understand that the correspondence appears to be targeted towards those employers holding the original CFMEU Pattern 2016 – 2018 EBA which provided for a 3 per cent increase in March 2019, rather than the 2016 Building Code-compliant version of the agreement which provided for a 5 per cent increase.

The correspondence notes that the current CFMEU 2016 – 2018 pattern agreement has expired, and requests that negotiations for a new agreement be commenced. The correspondence also includes a notice of employee representational rights, and states that a response to the CFMEU is required within seven days, indicating that the employer agrees to commence negotiations.

Members are advised not to provide copies of a notice of representational rights to employees or to agree to commence negotiations unless or until a decision is made to formally commence bargaining. We suggest that members contact the IR department for advice prior to taking any action.

Bargaining commences when the employer agrees to or initiates bargaining; or, a union obtains a majority support determination from the Fair Work Commission (FWC) proving that the majority of employees want to bargain with their employer. Only once bargaining has formally commenced are employers required to provide employees with a notice of representational rights.

Members are also reminded that even once bargaining has formally commenced, a number of procedures must still be followed before the union can apply to the FWC for a protected action ballot order in order to take any protected industrial action.

You should be aware that, in the absence of a majority support determination from the FWC, you are under no obligation to commence negotiations or to distribute a notice of representational rights.

Members seeking further information, including those seeking guidance on their enterprise agreement arrangements, are encouraged to contact the IR Department on (03) 9411 4560.