ASK RENATA

Our DWG want to run HSR elections our way, but the company insist we use their text links. They claim to need a record of how votes were run for future audits. Is what they say correct?

In short, no.

It is up to the members of the DWG to decide how to run the election (not the employer). You and your workgroup, perhaps with the assistance of your Delegate, can and should decide how the election is to be conducted, not the employer.

Sections 54(4) of our OHS Act states:

The members of the designated work group may determine how an election is to be conducted but, if they do not reach agreement within a reasonable time, any member may ask the Authority to arrange for an inspector to—

        (a)     conduct the election; or

        (b)     if the inspector considers it appropriate, appoint another person to conduct the election

The employer’s role is to allow and enable the election to take place during ordinary or appropriate working hours (for example, excluding lunch breaks). This may include providing any resources, facilities and assistance that are reasonably necessary to enable the election to be conveniently conducted.

The election process may be informal, for example with a show of hands. Alternatively, it may involve a more formal process, for example, the use of ballots. Employees may also choose to ask their union to run the election for them (if there is more than one union representing the members of the DWG, this can be done jointly, by agreement).

You can read more in WorkSafe’s excellent Employee Representation Guide.

Which brings us to what we can do about it.

Have a chat with your DWG about the above information and work out how best to deal with the situation, and maybe chat to your union too.

Worth noting: Section 54(4) enables for an inspector to conduct the election or, if the inspector considers it appropriate, appoint another person to conduct the election.

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