1 min read

5 obligations of bargaining representatives

By Charles Power

Bargaining representatives attract the following obligations to bargain in good faith:

Obligation 1: To meet at reasonable times about the agreement and to participate in those meetings. ‘Participate’ in this context means to share information and views, and to be willing to discuss the things that the bargaining representatives want in the agreement.

Obligation 2: To disclose relevant information (other than confidential or commercially sensitive information) in a timely manner. For example, if the employer wants to reduce shift allowances based on financial need, it will have to back up its claim with financial records.

Obligation 3: To respond to proposals made by other bargaining representatives for the agreement in a timely manner.

Obligation 4: To genuinely consider the proposals of other bargaining representatives for the agreement, and explain their position in relation to those proposals.

Obligation 5: Not to engage in capricious or unfair conduct that undermines freedom of association or collective bargaining.

For example:

  • failing to recognise a bargaining representative;
  • preventing an employee bargaining representative from attending meetings or discussing matters relating to the terms of the proposed agreement with fellow employees;
  • victimising an employee because the employee is a bargaining representative; and
  • preventing an employee from appointing a bargaining representative.

Good faith bargaining requirements do not require a bargaining representative to make concessions during bargaining for the agreement, or to enter into an agreement if they do not agree to its terms. And it is not a breach of good faith bargaining requirements to walk away from bargaining when all reasonable efforts to reach agreement have failed.

The Workplace Bulletin

Get the latest employment law news, legal updates, case law and practical advice from our experts sent straight to your inbox every week.

Sending confirmation email...
Great! Now check your inbox and click the link to confirm your subscription.
Please enter a valid email address!