FREE Fair Work Act Download GuideFor tips for negotiating a business agreement and other useful information, fill out the online form below to request a free consultation with an Employeesure labour relations specialist. A labour agreement differs, in many ways, from a collective agreement. It is important to understand the difference between a common class agreement and an employment contract. While there is a common law contract when you mandate a worker, whether it is an oral or written contract, the term employment contract, as used in labour law, refers to a formal document containing certain clauses and formally submitted to a public authority. For workers, their negotiator will most likely be a member of a union, but it is not mandatory. When a worker is unionized, his or her union is their standard bargaining representative, unless the worker notifies an alternative representative. An employer covered by the agreement may represent itself or request representation elsewhere. Australian employment contract laws (AWAs) have changed. AWAs were work agreements between an employer and a single employee. Under the new laws that came into force in March 2008, only employers who already had AWA workers could enter into individual employment contracts with other workers. These agreements are now called individual transitional employment contracts (ITEAs) and could not be concluded until the end of 2009.
When the original AEAs expire, the employer will no longer be able to use AWAs or ITEAs in the future. The trade union movement saw in the AEAs an attempt to undermine the power of trade unions in the negotiation of wages and the terms of their members. The unions argued that the ordinary worker himself had little or no bargaining power to effectively negotiate an agreement with an employer, so that there is, of course, unequal bargaining power for the contract. For exceptional individuals in the workplace or in labour-shortage sectors, the labour movement argues that common law contracts are sufficient. They also believe that, while commercial law and common law provide for fairness and equality in negotiations, the AAEs were designed to reinforce the inequality between employers and workers in terms of pay and conditions.