In recent correspondence from the CFMEU to the ABCC, the CFMEU raised two specific matters relating to the ABCC’s right of entry educational material.
Having considered the correspondence, the ABCC has made changes to its materials to ensure that the following matters are clear to all industry participants:
Entry to investigate suspected contravention
- A union official who holds a valid Federal right of entry permit can exercise a right to enter premises to investigate a suspected contravention of the Fair Work Act 2009 or a term of a fair work instrument that relates to, or affects, a member of the official's union.
- If the suspected contravention relates to a fair work instrument (which includes a modern award, or an enterprise agreement), that instrument must apply or have applied to the member.
- When exercising such a right of entry, permit holders have the right to interview any person about the suspected breach, provided the person agrees to be interviewed, and the permit holder's organisation is entitled to represent the industrial interests of that person.
Entry to hold discussions
- A union official who holds a valid Federal right of entry permit can exercise a right of entry to hold discussions with employees who work on the premises, who wish to participate in those discussions and whose industrial interests the permit holder’s union is entitled to represent.
- When entering to hold discussions with employees (as opposed to conducting interviews about a suspected contravention, as referred to above), those discussions can be held only during mealtimes or other breaks.
The above does not reflect all the rights and obligations under the right of entry laws, such as the obligation on permit holders to provide notice of entry in certain circumstances, to produce right of entry permits on request of an occupier, or the right to conduct interviews or hold discussions in a room or area ordinarily used by workers to take meal or other breaks.
Further information is available on the ABCC website at:
- Investigating a breach of a workplace law - https://www.abcc.gov.au/rights-and-responsibilities/right-entry/investigating-breach-workplace-law
- Rights and responsibilities when on site - https://www.abcc.gov.au/rights-and-responsibilities/right-entry/rights-and-responsibilities-when-site
- Right of Entry factsheet - https://www.abcc.gov.au/resources/fact-sheets/rights-and-responsibilities/right-entry-what-do-when-union-official-comes-your