Dispute resolution is an essential feature of any employment agreement. It provides a clear process for resolving disagreements or grievances that may arise under the agreement. The the Victorian Government Schools Agreement 2022 has introduced provisions that promote such flexibility, ultimately aiming to foster a diverse, adaptive, and high-performing workforce. outlines specific procedures for dispute resolution. This article will summarise those procedures for clarity and better understanding.
Beginning the Discussion
The dispute resolution process begins with the aggrieved employee(s) discussing their concerns with the employer’s representative at the workplace. If the dispute remains unresolved, it will be documented and referred to the employer. The employer will then consult with the parties involved and attempt to resolve the matter, informing the parties of the outcome in writing.
Use of Internal Processes
If the dispute or grievance is referred to an established internal dispute or grievance resolution process, it must first be handled according to that process. If the dispute or grievance is still not settled through the internal process, the matter may proceed according to further procedures outlined in the agreement.
Involving the Fair Work Commission
If the dispute remains unresolved, the employer or a union chosen as the employee representative may apply to the Fair Work Commission to have the dispute or grievance addressed through conciliation.
Collective disputes involving more than one employee may be referred to the Fair Work Commission for expedited handling. However, this step can only be taken if there has been a genuine attempt to resolve the dispute prior to its referral.
If a dispute arising under the agreement remains unresolved after following all the above procedures, it may be referred to the Fair Work Commission for resolution by mediation or conciliation. If necessary, the dispute may proceed to arbitration.
The Fair Work Commission has the power to carry out hearings, examine witnesses, gather evidence, and receive submissions to make the arbitration effective. The decision of the Fair Work Commission is binding on all parties, although either party has the right to appeal the decision to a Full Bench.
Throughout the dispute resolution process, all parties involved, including their representatives, must genuinely attempt to resolve the dispute and cooperate to ensure the process is carried out expeditiously. Work must continue in accordance with usual practice during the dispute resolution process, unless there’s an imminent risk to an employee’s health or safety.
It’s important to note that no person bound by the agreement will be prejudiced in the final settlement of the dispute due to the continuance of work.
Frequently Asked Questions
1. What is the first step in the dispute resolution process under the Victorian Government Schools Agreement 2022?
The first step is for the aggrieved employee(s) to discuss their concerns with the employer’s representative at the workplace.
2. What role does the Fair Work Commission play in the dispute resolution process?
The Fair Work Commission may be involved in several stages. It can provide conciliation, mediation, and, if necessary, arbitration. Its decision is binding on all parties involved.
3. Can work continue while a dispute is being resolved?
Yes, work must continue as per usual practice while the dispute is being resolved, unless there is an imminent risk to an employee’s health or safety.
4. What happens if a dispute remains unresolved after all these processes?
If the dispute remains unresolved after all the stated steps, it may be referred to the Fair Work Commission for resolution by mediation and/or conciliation and, if necessary, arbitration.
5. Can the decision of the Fair Work Commission be appealed?
Yes, either party has the right to appeal the decision to a Full Bench.