1. In considering its approach to facilities and protocols for bargaining representatives, the following principles should guide agencies' positions:
- Agencies acknowledge that bargaining representatives (who may include workplace delegates and elected union officials who are also APS employees) have a legitimate role to play in bargaining for enterprise agreements and should take reasonable steps to facilitate their participation in the bargaining
- Freedom of association must be respected. This includes not only the right to join, or not join a union, but also the right to choose whether or not to become involved in union activity in any way, including whether or not to receive communications from unions.
- Agency resources are not to be used for promoting or facilitating industrial action of any kind.
- Participation in the bargaining process should not unduly interfere with an APS employee's paid employment.
- It may be appropriate to provide greater support for a bargaining representative who is representing a large number or a large proportion of agency employees, than for a bargaining representative who is representing a small number or a small proportion of agency employees, or only themselves.
- Right of entry provisions of the Fair Work Act apply at all times during the bargaining period. It is expected that union officials will be invited to attend enterprise bargaining meetings with employer bargaining representatives and so will not need to use right of entry processes for that purpose.
2. The following specific facilities are outlined as a minimum. Agencies are advised that it is not intended that any existing facilities provided be reduced where they exceed the minima.
Minimum facilities for bargaining representatives
Agencies to allow bargaining representatives to conduct a round of paid time meetings with employees they represent at the commencement of bargaining and another round of paid time meetings when in-principle agreement has been reached.
All other meetings to be conducted during unpaid work breaks.
Bargaining representatives will have access to agency meeting facilities subject to agency needs and without undue interference with normal business.
Unless agreed otherwise by the relevant Agency Head, bargaining representatives will meet their own costs (including travel, accommodation and meals).
Use of emails
Bargaining representatives may access agency email addresses to communicate with the employees they represent.
Attendance at bargaining meetings
Bargaining representatives will be provided with reasonable paid time to prepare for and participate in bargaining meetings, subject to operational requirements.
Reasonable facilities will made available such as meeting rooms, communication facilities and other office equipment, subject to operational requirements.
Release of employees from duty
Agency Heads will facilitate the release of employees to participate in bargaining having regard to the agency's practices and operational needs. In doing so, agencies should consult with relevant unions around the scope of the release and their union delegates involved.
Where an employee is released from duty to participate in bargaining, agencies should do so in such a way that it does not affect their existing and/or ongoing entitlements as an employee.