NPAQ has never actually had a problem in practice in this area, however the answer is “yes” and “no”.
As an "unregistered" Trade Union under the Fair Trade Act, NPAQ have nearly the same workplace rights as a "registered" Trade Union. There are four differences, which we set out in NPAQ’s submission to the recent Senate Enquiry into the Integrity Bill.
These differences are set out in a separate act called "The Fair Work (Registered Organisations) Act"
"Registered Organisations versus Trade Unions
Registered Organisations of employees enjoy four key additional privileges of registration over Unregistered Organisations, those being:
(a) A privileged monopoly status to be labelled a registered organisation where the Commonwealth has demarcated
their operations; and
(b) A right of standing to bring causes of action in their own right; and
(c) The right of entry; and
(d) The default bargaining agent in enterprises for which they have coverage.”
Privilege (a) is about ego. As for privileges (b) and (d), our members simply appoint NPAQ and we then have exactly equal rights and privileges as the registered organisations (trade unions). Even if we were given those rights, we would still get our members to appoint us if for no other reason than it is important to talk to them about the issues.
The (c) "Right of Entry" supposed privilege is interesting. Under the Fair Work Act, an unregistered Trade Union (NPAQ) can apply for "Right of Entry". To date we have not considered the issue important enough to apply because NPAQ has not been blocked from accessing our members in their workplaces.
You must also understand there is a world of difference between the QNMU saying that NPAQ don't have "right of access" and your employer saying the same thing or more importantly actually blocking us. In general, all health industry employers including Qld Health have never blocked access to NPAQ.
This is where we would like your help. NPAQ is quite interested in making an application for "Right of Entry" but first we need evidence that we are being blocked. We actually don't have any just yet. The Fair Work Commission or the Qld State Industrial Commission is not going to look kindly on our application for "Right of Entry" unless we can demonstrate that our members are being disadvantaged by being denied representation because we are denied the right to enter the workplace.
Can you see the problem?
This is why the answer at the beginning was "yes and no".
If any member has been told by their management that NPAQ, or any other organisation for that matter, does not have the right or ability to represent or access its members please advise us asap. We will be in the relevant Commission before you can say "likerty split". And yes we will win!
Contact us via email at [email protected] or call 1300 CODE PH.