Recently we initiated a dispute with Maroondah Council over their interpretation of the induction process of the “new staff” clause in their enterprise agreement. The clause provides for all new staff to be introduced to their local area delegate. This is a great clause and an opportunity for union delegates to inform new starters of the importance of joining the union.
However, Maroondah HR believed the word ‘introduce’ does not have the same meaning as ‘meet’, and therefore allowed this dispute to fester for many months. They believe you can be introduced to someone without having met them, virtually or physically.
Union lawyers have a different take on this, and that was not the intention of that clause, so we were ready to file an application to the Fair Work Commission for a Commissioner to provide their interpretation of the clause.
Fortunately, council conceded and an agreed implement a plan for all new staff since May 2019 is to be introduced to the ASU delegates in their respective areas.