Unions must respect the Law when they enter work sites

15 Feb 2019 |

“Union officials wanting to enter employer premises must be subject to effective oversight and accountability and, like every other Australian, they must respect the law” James Pearson, CEO of the Australian Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Australia’s largest and most representative business network, said today.

The Australian Chamber welcomes plans announced today by the Minister for Jobs and Industrial Relations to modernise the rules empowering union officials to enter employer premises (called ‘right of entry’ under the Fair Work Act).

“Union officials have the power to force employers to let them onto premises, similar to the powers of the police, sheriffs and customs, except union officials don’t need a warrant or a court order,” Mr Pearson, said.

“We expect our police and court officers to carry and show proper ID, and it’s only reasonable that it should be the same for union officials.

“Australians have carried photographic drivers’ licenses for 30 years – why would we not apply up to date technology to better ensure the integrity of union entry permits?

“Australians recognise that with power must come responsibility and accountability, particularly where it involves the power to enter someone’s property.

“Ensuring the integrity and accountability of union officials exercising powers under workplace relations legislation has never been more important.

  • Since 1 July 2014, our courts have imposed over $2 million in civil penalties against the CFMEU and its representatives for more than 120 contraventions of the right of entry provisions of the Fair Work Act.
  • When union bosses proclaim that it is OK to break the law, it is more critical than ever that our laws are up to date and properly enforced.”

The Australian Chamber is Australia’s largest network of employers, speaking for over 300,000 businesses providing jobs to millions of Australians in every sector of the economy.

Emily Kennelly

Adviser - Public Affairs & Advocacy

P  |  0438 730 772

E  |  [email protected]

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