The negotiations at Patties for an agreement involved the NUW, the employer and some non-union employee bargaining representatives. During the bargaining process the NUW sent a letter to the non-union employee bargaining representatives seeking a copy of their appointment as a bargaining representative; a copy of any claims/improvements they sought; and their contact details. Concerned by the letter the non-union bargaining representatives approached management who distributed a letter informing representatives they did not need to respond to the NUW letter.
The NUW sought bargaining orders against the employer on the basis their letter breached the good faith bargaining requirements.
The matter came before Vice President Watson who noted there was not a pattern of deliberate improper communications and therefore it would be difficult for a single communication to amount to capricious and unfair conduct taken into account the context of the situation. The Vice President was of the view the letter was not unreasonable and only constituted advice to the bargaining representatives which they were free to make their own decision on. On this basis he was not persuaded it was capricious or unfair and the application was dismissed.