After two years of heavy debate, the Fair Work Commission handed down a decision last week which confirms its intention to remove the “manufacturing” element from the Vehicle Manufacturing, Repair Services and Retail Award 2010.

In late November 2015, the FWC indicated that it was considering a considerable change to the Award which would transfer the award coverage of vehicle manufacturing employees to that of the Manufacturing and Associated Industries and Occupations Award 2010, due to the similarities in duties, responsibilities and working environment of such employees.

This proposal was met with a flurry of activity from unions and employer associations alike, but no objection was strong enough to sway the Commission, which confirmed in the recent decision that “there is no satisfactory industry, occupational or functional dividing line” between vehicle and other types of manufacturing, and that the VMRSR Award was due for change as it had unsuccessfully “tried to marry conditions from two very different pre-modern awards which applied to very different working environments”.

The date and exact implementation of the amendment to the VMRSR Award is yet to be confirmed, but the Commission has stated that it is unlikely changes will be required to the Manufacturing Award itself, as it is already sufficiently broad enough and has “extensive potential application to vehicle manufacture and repair”.