Fair Work Australia Satisfied There Was A Genuine New Enterprise

In a case with wide significance for new businesses seeking to enter into workplace agreements with employee organisations to cover future employees, the Shop, Distributive and Allied Employees’ Association (“SDA”) represented by Taylor & Scott, has recently won an important industrial law case concerning the approval of a Greenfields Workplace Agreement covering a new enterprise.

The case concerns an appeal from a decision of Fair Work Australia to approve an application for a Greenfields Workplace Agreement. The appeal lodged by the National Union of Workers (NUW), who was not a party to the Agreement, was made on the basis that Fair Work Australia did not have all the relevant material before it at the time the application for the agreement was made. It was contended by the NUW that the additional material, which they say should have been considered, showed the business covered by the agreement was not a genuine new enterprise, namely that it had already been carrying on functions and had engaged or employed employees who were proposed to be covered by the workplace agreement.

The Full Bench of Fair Work Australia dismissed the appeal after finding that a new business had been formed, it operated as a genuine new enterprise, and accordingly that the agreement was valid. The Full Bench was satisfied that the company operates a business to service a different balance of subsidiaries and its business needs, and the methods of operation were different from that of any existing business and a new business was formed. This case gives important clarification to businesses, seeking to establish new businesses with new operations, and employee organisations seeking to enter into workplace agreements for proposed employees to be employed by the new enterprise.

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