A Fair Work Commission decision has cleared the way for an industry first national employment agreement for Bolton Clarke.
The decision marks a significant milestone for Australia’s largest independent not-for-profit health and aged care services provider, created when RSL Care and RDNS came together in 2015.
Bolton Clarke Group now has 7000 employees nationally.
Chief People Officer Mel Leahy said the findings handed down on 12 July meant the organisation could offer an agreement that would better recognise the value of all employees and ensure they benefited from its national footprint.
“A single national agreement means we can be responsive and flexible in providing career and development opportunities for our employees and in delivering services to our clients and residents,” she said.
The Fair Work Commission last week dismissed an ANMF scope order for Victorian employees to be covered by a separate agreement. Bolton Clarke employees are currently covered by five agreements including the Royal District Nursing Service Ltd Victorian Operations Enterprise Agreement 2016 and the RSL Care Enterprise Agreement 2015.
The ANMF proposed a separate agreement for Victorian employees that maintained conditions.
Deputy President Hamilton heard that Bolton Clarke, the ANMF and eight other unions met 12 times, with the ANMF maintaining its position on the dedicated Victorian agreement.
The company offered an annexure that grandfathered Victorian RDNS agreement conditions, allowing existing Victorian employees to retain their entitlements. Victorian employees can also choose to opt into the new agreement.
Bolton Clarke told the union this was a final offer that would proceed to a ballot, but it deferred the vote until after the FWC ruled on the scope order application.
Deputy President Hamilton found Bolton Clarke’s decision to terminate negotiations and put the national agreement to the vote was legitimate.
“(The employer) has made a substantial concession to the Victorian industrial history which is relevant, and must be given weight,” he concluded.
He found issuing a scope order would not assist in promoting the fair and efficient conduct of bargaining.