The Fair Work Act 2009 aims to provide a simple, flexible and fair framework that enables collective bargaining in good faith, particularly at the enterprise level, for enterprise agreements that deliver productivity benefits. However, sometimes parties may not be able to reach agreement in relation to an enterprise agreement.
If a proposed enterprise agreement has been voted on and a majority of employees do not approve the agreement, the bargaining process can continue until such time as a majority of employees vote to approve the agreement. The Fair Work Act does not limit the number of times that a proposed enterprise agreement can be put to the vote.
Each time the proposed enterprise agreement is put to a vote, the relevant requirements regarding the voting process (including the requirement for an access period) must be met.
The Fair Work Act provides a way for parties to seek assistance from the Fair Work Commission when negotiating a new enterprise agreement, this is done by making an application to deal with a bargaining dispute.
In dealing with a bargaining dispute, the Commission can provide parties with guidance and assistance, to help them reach agreement.