TWU v DHL Supply Chain (Australia) Pty Limited

FWA finds an employers decision not to grant union access to lunchroom but to “allocate the rooms of their choosing” not to be an unreasonable

The union sought access to the employer’s lunchroom on the basis the room they were normally provided to hold discussions was a manager’s office, was located in a management area, was not fit for the purpose and “was intended to intimidate and discourage persons” from participating in discussions.

In reaching his decision the Commissioner referred to the Full Bench decision in Somerville Retail Services Pty Ltd v Australasian Meat Industry Employees’ Union (para 32 – 35) which requires all the circumstances to be considered in reaching a decision on access – including the interests of those employees who may not wish to be involved in discussions. In Somerville the Full Bench determined an applicant can only be successful if it establishes the employer is “objectively unreasonable”.

In DHL FWA took into account that 38 of 45 employees raised objection to meeting room access. In considering this and balancing all the circumstances FWA declined to provide access to the lunch room.