MAROONDAH Council's workplace agreement for staff has been knocked back by Fair Work Australia.
The new agreement — for the period of October 2011 to September 2014 — was voted on by council employees in March before being submitted to FWA.
FWA's deputy president last week declined to approve the agreement due to the council's processes in the lead-up to the vote.
Maroondah chief executive Frank Dixon said he had not yet seen the formal decision but it was his understanding that FWA felt the council had not provided employees adequate access to the enterprise agreement before the vote.
FWA's act states workplaces must take "all reasonable steps" to ensure all staff are given a copy of new agreements and its terms are explained to the relevant employees.
"While I respect the view of the FWA deputy president, the section of the act has some ambiguity in relation to what "all reasonable steps" means in the context of councils' diverse workplaces," Mr Dixon said.
The enterprise agreement will now be voted on for a second time on September 24.
At the original vote in March, 470 of the 937 council staff voted. There were 240 in favour and 195 against. A further 35 votes were counted as informal. "We will make sure all employees can understand the agreement before we take it out to them," Mr Dixon said.
This is not the first headache for the council over its workplace agreement. Earlier this year staff at council-run leisure centres enforced work bans over a proposed pay freeze for leisure employees only.
Australian Services Union lead organiser Michelle Jackson said FWA had flagged other issues within the agreement. She believes it will get knocked back a second time. "The council is putting the agreement right out to vote again without fixing anything," she said.
"We have asked council to sit down with us and talk through these issues and they have declined."