You web browser may not be properly supported. To use this site and all its features we recommend using the latest versions of Chrome, Safari or Firefox

Slater and Gordon successfully acted for the Independent Education Union of Western Australia against the Roman Catholic Archbishop of Perth (the provider of Catholic Education in Western Australia) in an interpretation of an agreement dispute before the Western Australian Industrial Relations Commission.

The IEU and the Catholic Education Office were in dispute about the proper construction of clauses 23 and 24 of the Roman Catholic Archbishop of Perth Teachers Enterprise Agreement 2012.

The Catholic Education Office made changes to work hours of teachers and the IEU argued that clause 23 required the Catholic Education Office to consult with the IEU prior to making an alteration to the work hours. The Catholic Education Office refused to consult with the IEU, arguing that the change to the work hours was minor and not a “significant effect” so as to enliven the consultation requirements under clause 23.

Clause 24 expressly referred to a Teacher Workloads policy and provided that the Policy could only be changed with the agreement of both parties. The Policy set the maximum work hours of a teacher. By changing the work hours of teachers the Catholic Education Office unilaterally changed the Policy. We argued the plain and ordinary interpretation of clause 24 meant that a change to the Policy could only be made with mutual agreement.

The WAIRC agreed with our submission that it is clear from the wording of clause 23 of the EBA that any alteration of hours of work is a ‘significant effect’ so as to enliven the consultation requirements in clause 23. The WAIRC further agreed that the Catholic Education Office cannot unilaterally change the Policy where there is a change to work hours of a teacher.

The favourable interpretation potentially opened the door to a penalties claim against the Catholic Education Office for a breach of the EBA.

Independent Education Union of Western Australia, Union of Employees (IEUWA) v Roman Catholic Archbishop of Perth [2016] WAIRC 00747.

The contents of this blog post are considered accurate as at the date of publication. However the applicable laws may be subject to change, thereby affecting the accuracy of the article. The information contained in this blog post is of a general nature only and is not specific to anyone’s personal circumstances. Please seek legal advice before acting on any of the information contained in this post.

Thank you for your feedback.

Related blog posts

Employment Law
Starting a new job? What to look for in an employment contract

Starting a new job is an exciting time, whether it’s your first one or you’re moving on to greener pastures there’s a lot to consider – like how will you celebrate?! What will you wear on your first day? And what’s the commute going to be like? But before you start planning whether you’ll bike or train to work, you’ll need to review and sign your employment contract. This part can often feel daunting for new workers, but don’t worry – here’s a handy guide for what to look out for in an employment contract. This one might seem obvious, but it’s important – so worth mentioning first. It’s vital to ensure that the details contained in your employment contract...

Starting a new job contract review
Employment Law
Is “small scale” wage theft affecting you?

We’ve all heard the stories of large-scale wage theft, where millions of dollars are stolen from workers by paying employees well under award rates or failing to pay overtime. You may be a victim of wage theft if your employer has: However, did you know many Aussie workers are also victims of “small scale” wage theft? Most people aren’t even aware of what “small scale” wage theft is or how it can add up. Small scale wage theft occurs when workers are taken advantage of in small ways on a regular basis. Each instance may only be small – such as being required to work through breaks or being required to clock on after your shift begins or log off before your work is really...

Workers on break
Employment Law
Injured migrant food delivery workers can’t afford medical costs or time off to recover if inju …

Former Uber Eats rider Bruna Correa had only been in Australia for three months when she was car-doored by a driver getting out of a parked vehicle, while delivering food in Sydney last year. She required two surgeries, four months off work and three months’ worth of physiotherapy. When the driver’s door flung open, she fell off her bike and recalls seeing her arm hit the ground, breaking her wrist before the ambulance came. After realising she would no longer receive income to support herself, she sought legal support to lodge a Compulsory Third Party (CTP) claim. This meant she was supported by weekly payments to cover her lost income through her CTP claim which have now come to an...

Bruna prior to accident cropped

We're here to help

Start your online claim check now. Or, if you have a question, get in touch with our team.