Rail Tram and Bus Union Queensland Branch
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Circular 32: Managing Surplus Positions Policy - struggle continues

I refer members to the previous circular regarding the Managing Surplus Positions Policy, where we reported that QRN were trying to avoid some obligations that we believe are payable under the "Managing Surplus Employees" standard as part of the recent restructure.

Your union met with management as part of the step 3 dispute resolution process and unfortunately it appears that their thoughts have not changed. They are alleging that an employee whose position has been dis-established, does not become an EIT until they are sent a letter declaring that to be the case. This position is ludicrous because that would mean that all QR National needed to do to avoid all entitlements due to EITs, would be to refuse to send them a letter confirming their status! Clearly they are wrong on this point.

In simple terms, if you opted to relocate as a result of your position being declared surplus, you miss out. From our perspective, it seems then, that it does not pay to help your employer if you work for QRN, in fact by doing so a group of employees have been denied payments that could amount to many thousands of dollars.

To explain, QRN management entered a workplace and advised that all positions in that workplace would be abolished in the restructure and the bulk of the work moved to other areas in other provincial cities. The employees were given a list of vacant positions, some doing the same work but in the new location and asked to express interest in these new roles.

The employees involved are generally long term QR/QRN staff who are very skilled at logistics management and are a crucial part of running the business. In other words it was in QRN's interest to entice these employees to move to the new logistics centres.

Some of the employees took VERS packages whilst the remainder opted to relocate to the new centres. QR National is saying that these employees were never made EITs, despite the definition of an EIT in the agreement, very clearly stating that they are.

The fact remains that the positions were abolished. The employees did not have a role in their current location, they opted to sell up their homes and relocate to new cities and after they arrived were told that they will be duped by QRN of many thousands of dollars they were expecting to assist with the costs of resettling.

So the lesson here is do not volunteer for anything thinking that QRN will do the right thing by you.

In a month when the senior executive of QRN are asking the shareholders to support massive pay rises in the millions of dollars, your union finds it objectionable that they would try to avoid obligations to skilled long term employees who have moved to new cities to help the business grow.

Your union has, today filed the matter for hearing in Fair Work Australia and hopes that in the meantime QRN management will see that this is the wrong way to treat valuable employees.

If any other worker feels they have been duped, you also need to contact the RTBU. We will keep members informed of any progress.

Bruce Mackie,
QLD State President