Termination of Enterprise Agreements Under the Fair Work Act: A Systematic Document Analysis
The Australian Journal of Labour Law, 2022
28 Pages Posted: 9 Dec 2022
Date Written: November 8, 2022
Following the Fair Work Commission Full Bench’s decision in Re Aurizon Operations Ltd there was a rise in applications to terminate nominally expired enterprise agreements under s.225 of the Fair Work Act. This led some to claim that the Aurizon decision precipitated an increase in managerial assertiveness, while others viewed it as a sign of a broken bargaining system. To properly understand the Aurizon decision’s impact, we examine the causes of changes in the rate of termination applications by evaluating every published s.225 decision of the Fair Work Commission from the commencement of the Act to March 2022. Where earlier scholarship on this issue was based on relatively small sample sizes, this article presents a comprehensive analysis of 1807 publicly available s.225 decisions. It explores to what extent these applications have been contentious and finds that only a small minority of applications was controversial, with other economic and regulatory developments inflating the figures. We also highlight the largely underappreciated role of the Fair Work Commission in handling these applications, including its regulatory efficiency and commitment to facilitating enterprise bargaining.
Keywords: Industrial relations, enterprise agreements, terminations, Fair Work Act, s.225
JEL Classification: K31
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation