Rail Tram and Bus Union Queensland Branch
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QRN's Restructure

16 July 2012

Following a request from the RTBU, senior officials from rail unions and QRN met to further discuss the proposal to restructure the business.

It is clear that the depth and breadth of experience our members have in the industry shone through in consultation phase of the restructure process. Many hundreds of informal and formal submissions were made responding to the initial proposal. The formal response from the RTBU was compiled from the expertise of members across the state and was in line with the general criticisms levelled at the plan. The real testament to the expertise of members was borne out in large number of revisions made by QRN through the process.

Despite the changes, there remain a number of areas that are of concern for RTBU members.

The selection process for voluntary redundancy is still faulty despite some changes being flagged in the revision. It is still complex and cumbersome and does not meet the fundamental test of fairness: those who want to depart should be able to, and those who want to remain should be protected. Where not enough people apply for VR the company has said they will still put the volunteers in a pool with those who want to stay and potentially make surplus those who wish to work in the company. It creates too much uncertainty and isnít fair.

In some areas the outcome is unclear. QRN were sensible enough to accept for instance, that the telecommunications area was a complex one with lots of potential traps for new players (and many in QRN management are certainly new players...). The decision for this group is to make a decision later. The company freely admits that the result of the further review they are undertaking may be that they donít contract this work out. Despite this, the company still requires people to express interest in VR and potentially let them go despite the final decision not having been made.

In other areas itís been almost as confusing. In the infrastructure area itís been said that the roles for some track workers will require a bit of a modification to the jobs profile by adding and removing a few competencies. As a result, the jobs will be spilled and members will have to reapply for them. We think this is very unfair for members who are being potentially required to reapply for their own jobs.

One issue is fundamental and it relates to the majority of members who intend to stay with the company. The issue is work intensification. When asked why, when QRN are forecasting (on the basis of current contracts) to haul more coal than they ever have in 2015 they would be laying off people, the response was not immediately clear. Once the management double speak was sifted through and when pressed, the answer was hard to avoid. They said that in some areas they had spare capacity in rosters and would look to maximise that. You donít need a decoder ring to understand what that meant: youíll work harder or at least do the same with fewer people. No doubt safety is paramount but work intensification is a problem plaguing workplaces around Australia. It doesnít happen immediately, it happens slowly so you donít notice it until you are already too stressed, too disconnected from family/friends, and too tired. Members are urged to look at the effects of restructuring on their workload and workplace carefully. Members did not sign up to have their work/life balance slowly whittled away, and now is the time to be vigilant.

There is still a lot of material to go through and many questions to be asked and we will continue to do that as matters progress. If you have concerns about what is proposed in an amended document you are urged to make your voice heard through your Workplace Delegate or Organiser and to the company.

Financial/Superannuation Advice

Members have been asking the RTBU Office for advice on the financial implications of the redundancy scheme.

There are some things that RTBU Officials are absolutely the experts in. They can assist with industrial advice and have unparalleled industry knowledge you can trust. But when it comes to financial advice though, we are not the experts and canít give advice. Nonetheless, help is at hand.

Following discussions with QSuper we can provide some details of seminars they are running for the exact purpose of assisting members in this time. The information they have produced appears below.

Members of Australian Super are able to access a retrenchment kit which has information which is useful in this period of consideration. The kit can be obtained by calling Pam Gan of Australian Super on 07 3112 2324. For any other inquiries about your account, they operate a call centre which is on 1300 300 273.

Message from Qsuper

There are a lot of things to consider when choosing whether to accept a redundancy package.

To help with the decision making process, QSuper have put together answers to some frequently asked questions about how a Voluntary Redundancy might affect their members, which is available on www.qsuper.qld.gov.au/qrnational.

QSuper is committed to working with members to help them understand the options available, and are also pleased to offer further assistance through Q Invest, a financial planning organisation owned by QSuper.

If you have questions about how accepting a redundancy package could affect your financial situation, you may want to speak with a financial adviser. As a QSuper member, you have access to subsidised2 financial advice about your superannuation benefit from Q Invest2, whose advisers have specialist knowledge of QSuper.

If you are unsure whether your redundancy payment will enable you to retire when combined with your superannuation, Q Invest has a priority service designed to address this specific question. The service will also explain what will happen to your QSuper account when the redundancy takes effect, and give you advice about how your QSuper account should be structured. This service costs $475, and includes a written Statement of Advice and assistance completing the required paperwork. This is a one-off fee for service, with no ongoing commissions applicable.

If you have already made the decision to accept a redundancy, then an appointment dealing with your overall financial affairs is available with a financial adviser. This service costs $775, and includes a detailed written Statement of Advice and assistance completing the paperwork. This is a one off fee for service, with no ongoing commissions applicable.

To speak to, or make an appointment with a Q Invest financial adviser, call the QR National Voluntary Redundancy Scheme hotline on 1800 997 683.

Australian Super - You can also visit Australian Super for more information