The Screen Industry Workers Act 2022 will come into force on 30 December 2022.

Screen Industry Workers Act

The Act will allow contractors in the screen industry to bargain collectively, bringing screen industry workers' representatives and producers' representatives to the table to bargain for minimum employment standards.

Workers will no longer need to negotiate individually for minimum employment standards, but will still be able to negotiate individual terms based on skills and experience.

Employment Relations Authority role

If parties encounter difficulties during bargaining for a screen industry collective contract, they can seek help from the Employment Relations Authority (Authority) to resolve their differences.

Parties can also go to the Authority to enforce terms and conditions of a collective contract and penalise those who breach contractual obligations. The Authority will:

  • decide whether to allow bargaining if satisfied there is sufficient support in favour of a collective contract
  • assess the form and content of draft collective contracts and their suitability for ratification.

The Authority can also assist the parties during bargaining to resolve a disagreement on the terms and conditions of a collective contract through:

  • facilitation; or
  • final offer arbitration to fix the terms of the collective contract.

When the Authority can facilitate bargaining

If parties remain at a standstill in relation to one or more terms of the collective contract, they can refer a dispute to the Authority for facilitation (with a member of the Authority as the facilitator). The Authority can help the parties reach an agreement if:

  • the dispute is interfering with the bargaining or the ability of the parties to conclude a collective contract; and
  • the parties have made sufficient efforts at mediation to resolve their difficulties.

If the dispute remains unresolved at the end of facilitation, parties may apply to the Authority for a determination. 

Final offer arbitration

Fixing the terms of a collective contract

If parties are still unable to reach an agreement on the terms of the collective contract, they can apply to the Authority to fix the terms of the collective contract by final offer arbitration, but only after the parties have made sufficient efforts to resolve the dispute through:

  • mediation; and
  • facilitation.

Final offer arbitration involves a 3-person panel comprised of: one employer party, one worker party, and one member of the Authority (the arbitrating body).

The arbitrating body will hear from both parties and determine the dispute to fix the terms of the collective contract. Once the arbitrating body has decided on the terms, these are final, binding, and enforceable against the parties. 

Penalties relating to collective contracts

The Authority can order a penalty against a party to a collective contract for failing to comply with the terms or act in good faith or other obligations during bargaining. The Authority will follow the usual process for imposing a penalty and will consider relevant factors before making a decision. Parties could be liable up to:

  • $10,000 for an individual
  • $20,000 for a body corporate.