Good faith bargaining

Employers and employees in the building and construction industry can negotiate enterprise agreements that set wages and working conditions. All enterprise agreements must be negotiated following the Good Faith Bargaining rules in the Fair Work Act 2009 (FW Act).

Good Faith Bargaining means that all parties are expected to communicate openly and focus negotiations on key issues during enterprise bargaining.

What is Good Faith Bargaining?

Good Faith Bargaining relates to the way parties in an agreement negotiation must behave. It means that all people involved in bargaining must:

  • attend, and participate in, meetings at reasonable times
  • disclose relevant information (other than confidential or commercially sensitive information) in a timely manner
  • respond to proposals made by other bargaining representatives in a timely manner
  • give genuine consideration to the proposals of other bargaining representatives and provide reasons for responses to those proposals
  • refrain from capricious or unfair conduct that undermines freedom of association or collective bargaining
  • recognise and bargain with, the other bargaining representatives to the agreement.

The FW Act also lays out other general preapproval steps that must be undertaken before bargaining can occur.

The parties do not have to reach agreement or make concessions.

Good Faith Bargaining does not require parties to make concessions or sign up to an agreement where they do not agree to the terms. You can meet your Good Faith Bargaining obligations and still negotiate about strongly held positions. There is no obligation to reach agreement.

Need more information?

For further information, advice or assistance please contact the ABCC at 1800 003 338 or enquiry [at] abcc.gov.au.