An Australian Labour Agreement (AWA) was a kind of formalized individual contract negotiated between an employer and a worker in Australia that existed from 1996 to 2009. Employers could propose an AWA as a condition of employment. They were registered by labour counsel and did not require a dispute resolution procedure. These agreements only worked at the federal level. The AWAs were individual written agreements on the conditions of employment between the employer and the worker in Australia, in accordance with the 1996 Labour Relations Act. An AWA could repeal conditions of employment in national or territorial laws, with the exception of those relating to occupational health protection, workers` compensation or training agreements. An AWA only had to meet Australia`s highest standard of fair payment and minimum conditions. The agreements were not obligated to introduce effective dispute resolution procedures and could not contain prohibited content. The agreements were no more than five years old; approved, encouraged and registered by the Employment Agency; Excluding a premium and prohibited trade union actions with regard to the details of the agreement for the duration of the agreement.
The introduction of AWA has been a highly controversial topic of labour relations in Australia. These agreements allow employers to set employment conditions that are appropriate for their business. The conditions in the agreement are in addition to the minimum conditions set out in national employment standards. In the federal public service, the Department of Employment and Labour Relations reported that as of December 31, 2004, out of 124,500 permanent public and parliamentary employees, 11,085 AWAs (for 1928 Senior Executive Service (SES), for which AWAs are mandatory, and 9,157 other employees.  The remaining permanent staff were covered by 101 certified agreements as of 30 March 2005, including 70 trade union enterprise agreements and 31 non-union enterprise agreements.  The employment contract may be based on an employment agreement between an employer and a group of workers or sectoral distinctions. Employment contracts should also be distinguished from agreements with independent contractors. Each employment relationship involves a contract between the employer and the worker. This contract may be oral or written or may include a mixture of the two. It is not necessary to explicitly agree on the terms of a contract in order to have a contract. The fact that a worker begins to work for an employer implies certain fundamental implicit conditions, such as the right to compensation for the work done and a duty of mutual trust.
In short, employers have an obligation: although the collective agreement itself is not applicable, many of the negotiated terms relate to wages, conditions, leave, pensions, etc. These conditions are included in a worker`s employment contract (whether the worker is unionized or not); and the employment contract is of course applicable. If the new conditions are not acceptable to individuals, they may be contrary to their employer; but if the majority of workers have agreed, the company will be able to dismiss the complainants, usually unpunished. Under common law, Ford v. A.U.E.F. , , the courts found once that collective agreements were not binding. Second, the Industrial Relations Act, introduced by Robert Carr (Minister of Labour in Edward Heath`s office), provided in 1971 that collective agreements were binding, unless a written contractual clause indicated otherwise. Following the fall of the Heath government, the law was struck down to reflect the tradition of the British labour relations policy of legal abstention from labour disputes. Business agreements can be tailored to the needs of some companies. An agreement should be overall better for an employee when compared to the corresponding bonuses or rewards.
The case underscores the importance of employers ensuring that workers are not only informed of employment policy, but also understand the end of employment because of violations of company policy.