The Fair Work Commission has confirmed the termination date of Merivale’s staff collective agreement, and the hotel operator has said the new deal will bring “administrative and operational changes to Merivale and its staff”.

In a decision released on 21 January 2019 by the Fair Work Commission’s Deputy President PJ Sams, Merivale’s collective agreement with staff will terminate on 4 March 2019.

The collective agreements previously signed between Justin Hemmes’ leading hospitality group Merivale and some members of staff were the subject of vociferous campaigning by some former Merivale employees with the support of the union United Voice.

The decision is a result of former Merivale staff Mackenzie Waugh and Daniel McDonald disputing the legality of the agreement Merivale had previously struck with staff. That agreement effectively allowed younger members of staff to be paid less than the prevailing hospitality industry award.

“Merivale had previously agreed to the termination of the agreement,” said Deputy President Sams in their decision, “but requested a prospective date to allow it [Merivale] to put in place the necessary system changes effecting [sic] numerous workplaces and almost 3,000 employees.”

That request has now been allowed by the Fair Work Commission, with an effective date of 4 March 2019.

In a statement to Australian Hotelier, Merivale said: “Merivale is committed to continuing to be a lead employer in our sector. Our staff are at the heart of our DNA and we keep them front of mind in everything we do. We know our great staff are a key to our success and they will ensure Merivale continues to thrive.

“Based on a sensible agreement with United Voice and yesterday confirmed by the Fair Work Commission, Merivale’s current Collective Agreement, which sets out the terms and conditions of employment for many of our staff, will reach its end date on 04 March 2019. From this date, our staff will transition to the relevant awards.

“Given the differences between the operation of the two systems, and the functional adaptations required by this transition, there will be a number of administrative and operational changes for Merivale and its staff. Merivale will continue to deliver exceptional product and service across all of its venues and will remain a workplace of choice for our staff.”

The Fair Work Commission declined to comment further on the decision.

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