- In the landmark case of Aurizon Operations Ltd  FWCFB 540, the Full Bench of the Fair Work Commission rejected the notion that it is inappropriate to terminate an exisiting enterprise agreement during bargaining.
- The decision of FWC Full Bench to terminate the 12 expired agreements in this case signals a significant change in the Commission’s approach to such cases and enhances the position of employers in agreement negotiations.
In a landmark ruling that has realigned the dynamics of bargaining under the Fair Work Act 2009 (Cth) (‘FW Act’), a Full Bench of the Fair Work Commission (‘FWC’) has terminated 12 expired enterprise agreements during a stalemate in negotiations for their replacement: Aurizon Operations Ltd  FWCFB 540. In doing so, the Full Bench (Watson VP, Gostencnik DP and Spencer C) rejected the notion that it is inappropriate to terminate an enterprise agreement during bargaining.
The decision signals a significant change in the FWC’s approach to the termination of expired enterprise agreements, and opens the door for employers constrained by unfavourable agreements that have passed their nominal expiry date. With the spectre of employee conditions reverting to the underlying modern award, unions and employees will face increased pressure to agree to the terms offered by employers for replacement enterprise agreements.