Rail Tram and Bus Union Queensland Branch
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QRN Proposed Restructure - Dispute

18 July 2012

Yesterday afternoon the RTBU and other rail unions notified QRN we are in dispute over a number of elements of the proposed restructure.

The notification of dispute raises serious and important issues that relate to fairness in the selection process for those who stay, and those who take voluntary redundancy. It also raises concern over what has emerged in a few areas – the fact there is no solid proposal in place but still a desire to remove jobs ahead of any outcome. In some parts of the business, the proposal was to continue working on a further plan once more research is done.

The RTBU has said from the start that redundancies should be voluntary in line with the commitments in the QRN Enterprise Agreements. That means that where there is a solid competent and complete proposal to restructure which leads to a reduction in positions – those who volunteer to go should, along with those with medical restrictions be the first to be accepted. QRN’s proposal does not automatically accept volunteers and that needs to be corrected.

Where the QRN’s final product in some areas is to keep on working up a plan with no solid foundation the message ought to be clear – finish the consideration, determine the new structure THEN start the process of engagement with staff. Reducing the workforce in these areas ahead of any solid decision simply overloads the remaining staff and pre-empts the outcome of the review.

There are other issues that are in dispute which relate to the way in which vacancies in Network are proposed to be filled. The RTBU is concerned that even though the differences between many of the current positions vs the proposed positions are minor, the company is proposing to have everyone reapply for their jobs. This is unfair and unnecessary. The QRN Agreements make it clear that people in this circumstance can move to the new structure without advertisement. That’s what should happen, and the uncertainty can end for those wondering if they’ll get selected for the job they’ve been doing well in some cases for many years.

We anticipate meeting QRN in the near future to further discuss these issues. The effect of the dispute notices will be that some parts of the proposed timeframe will be delayed. This is unavoidable and may cause some inconvenience. Members have been clear in communication with their officials – this restructure is too important to be rushed. Your rights to have a proper stake in the outcome of the business you work for need to be upheld. QRN can’t just tick and flick proposals which see hundreds of workers made surplus across the State – there’s too much at stake.

Owen Doogan
Branch Secretary