Drug test case win

UNION officials attempting to exercise their right of entry cannot be drug test-ed, according to a Western Australian Industrial Relations Commission decision.

On December 12 the commission found that Transfield Services could not force an authorised union representative to undergo a drug and alcohol test.

According to the Minter Ellison HR & IR Update for WA, the decision means that an employer cannot make a union representative’s entry to their work site conditional upon the union official abiding by the employer’s policies and procedures.

However, the update says the union representative must have an authority issued by the commission’s registrar and have given the requisite notice under the Industrial Relations Act or relevant award.

“It should be noted that the WAIRC has the power to revoke an authority issued by the registrar, if satisfied that the person to whom it was issued has acted in an improper manner or intentionally and unduly hindered an employer or employees during their worktime,” it says.

In March a representative from the Australian Manufacturing Workers Union was notified that he would be denied access to Transfield’s Boodarie Iron Operations site unless he gave 24 hours’ prior notice, submitted a negative blood alcohol test prior to entry and agreed to submit to future intermittent and random tests for future visits.

It was Transfield’s policy that entrants to its site be subjected to random drug and alcohol tests.

The union argued that Transfield did not have the right to force its representative to undergo a random drug and alcohol test.

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