The Australian Insurance Workers Union employs Susan as an industrial organiser. The Union wants to negotiate a
new enterprise agreement with the National Insurance Agency. The Agency first refused to negotiate with the Union, stating that it would like to simply refer to the modern award that applies. However, the Union succeeded in gaining member support and the Agency then agreed it would engage with them to bargain for the new agreement.
That was three months ago. In recent months, Susan has arranged to meet with Agency management five times, and management has at the last minute notified it could not make the meetings. Susan has also forwarded a list of terms for agreement. Seemingly in response, the Agency emailed its proposed update of a previous agreement, but no other emails have been received. Susan is concerned that she has not been able to discuss or negotiate about salary increments for employees who take limited personal leave. The Agency has not replied to emails about this topic. Last week Susan called the Agency stating that employees would be taking industrial action if meetings do not take place, and assistance from the government body would be sought for this purpose. At the same time Susan asked for financial information relating to the total wages cost of Agency employees over the past five years, and total income of the Agency over the same period. The Agency has not yet replied to the email or supplied either piece of information.
Advise Susan if
The Union can make a complaint to the Fair Work Commission about the approach the Agency is taking in negotiations, and whether the Commission has an ability to assist.
(b) On the assumption that bargaining does not progress and the employees wish to take industrial action, the Union can follow particular steps to ensure any industrial action taken is lawful, describing any steps.
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