If an employer refuses to start bargaining, the union can go to Fair Work Australia
If an employer refuses to start bargaining, the union can go to Fair Work Australia (FWA) to get the employer ordered to negotiate in good faith. FWA will only order an employer to bargain if there is evidence that a majority of employees want to negotiate an enterprise agreement with the employer. Usually employees in this situation will sign a confidential petition which only FWA sees.
Sometimes there is disagreement about the appropriate scope for an agreement. If the parties cannot reach agreement, either side can ask FWA to determine the scope. Before issuing a scope order, FWA will consider a range of things, including whether the group is fairly chosen and whether the dispute about scope is really undermining efficient bargaining.
If parties cannot reach agreement through negotiation, the union can organise protected industrial action.
Employees should also be aware that an employer can legally request the employees vote on an agreement when 21 days has passed since bargaining formally commenced. Even if the union believes that negotiations have not finished, an employer can lawfully put an agreement to the vote at any stage after this mininum period.