4 August 2021

Labour hire companies doing what labour hire companies are designed to do [$]: ”Railtrain Group had a contract to supply about 50 train crew to Roy Hill through a subsidiary, TRRC. After Roy Hill indicated it would offer Railtrain a new four-year contract provided there was an enterprise agreement in place for the life of the contract, Railtrain created an entity, Karijini, and employed two staff to make a new enterprise agreement. The duo, who were on probation and still in training, voted up the new agreement, the TRRC workers were transferred to Karijini, and a new contract was reached with Roy Hill. A FWC full bench found Railtrain’s strategy was designed to avoid having to negotiate a new agreement with the TRRC workforce and their likely bargaining representative, the CFMEU.“ This kind of corporate shell game is par for the course these days — but this time, the company screwed up by telling the two hand-picked newbies that they would be covered by the rail industry award. In reality, the contract undercut the mining award that the workforce was actually covered by. As a consequence, the FWC found the company had “engaged in an exercise of corporate manipulation”: “We find that there are reasonable grounds for believing that the agreement of those two employees did not constitute properly informed consent, and lacked the moral authority required for genuine agreement.” But the loophole that allows more careful companies to pull this stunt needs to be closed.