Fair Work Australia (FWA) has made "single interest employer authorisations" under s248 of the Fair Work Act covering 156 Domino's Pizza Enterprises Ltd franchisees, allowing them to bargain together for a single enterprise agreement.
Domino's first application to FWA for an authorisation failed the requirements of s248(2)(a), (b) and (c) of the Fair Work Act requiring the application to specify the employers and employees to be covered by the agreement. There was insufficient clarity to the application to prove the franchisees had agreed to bargain together absent any coercion, SDP Peter Richards said. However, the application was amended to include the business identities of the franchisees and their relevant authorisations, and so met the Act's requirements, he said.
In making the Domino's authorisation, SDP Richards clarified the instruments were not "static" in that under s251 of the Act, variations could be made including adding new employers to the list or removing them, as well as extending the 12-month duration of authorisations. As recently reported in Workforce, obtaining an authorisation from FWA only means a group of employers can seek to bargain for a single agreement and does not place any obligation on the other bargaining parties to agree to a single agreement in preference to multiple agreements (WF1705). Deputy PM & WR Minister Julia Gillard on October 23 made her first "single interest bargaining" ministerial declarations, at the time confirming they would be limited to employers who relied on Government funding and had traditionally bargained together, such as independent schools and publicly funded healthcare facilities.
Once a group of employers obtained a single interest bargaining declaration from the minister, they could apply to FWA for a single interest employer authorisation.
However, private sector franchisees could bypass the need to first obtain a ministerial declaration and go straight to applying to FWA for an authorisation, subject to meeting certain criteria, Gillard said (WF1703).