The AAS had a unique characteristic in Australia: during the negotiation of a federal enterprise contract, a group of workers or a union without legal sanctions could take union action (including strikes) to pursue their demands. The union noted that negotiations on the hiring of workers, which had about 120 warehouse employees from two employment agencies, were deadlocked. The use of casual workers has long been a controversial industrial practice, with unions arguing that it deprives workers of their safety at work. To counter this, many enterprise agreements have labour-use conditions – although neither the interim nor its staff are covered by the agreement. “Casual conversion” clauses are particularly common, which are intended to require an employer to offer casual workers permanent employment in the host business after a certain period of time. “BHP has made fun of our trading system for companies [because] no coal miner covered by these agreements has had the opportunity to have a say in the terms of their employment,” Tony Maher, president of CFMEU, said in a public statement. At the heart of this case is the issue of whether the casual conversion clause – to the extent that it concerns employees of a company not covered by the agreement – is authorized by Section 172 of the Fair Work Act (FW Act). Section 172 exhaustively lists eligible issues that may be part of a business agreement: “Outsourcing the workforce to their own shonky employment agencies, while giving them BHP shirts and calling them family members, is a new low point for the mining industry… operating service agreements simply do not reflect [modern] employment standards in the coal industry. “The conditions that provide for the employer`s prohibition having to involve contractors or workers or the employer`s right to use independent contractors are not matters related to the employment relationship, as opposed to those that may relate to the plan of the conditions that must be granted to contractors. The rules on enterprise bargaining are too restrictive and bosses have found ways to exploit them. They use tactics such as outsourcing, outsourcing, hiring, redundancy contracts, no stilt agreements and more to avoid wages and fair conditions. Bosses have an unfair advantage over workers. The business bargaining system should provide workers with wages and a level playing field in exchange for increased business productivity.
While companies have benefited from greater productivity, they have not been able to share these benefits with workers. They just fed their pockets.