Rail Tram and Bus Union Queensland Branch
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Update: Bargaining in Aurizon

3 May 2013

The RTBU and other Rail Unions commenced initial discussions with Aurizon regarding replacement Enterprise Agreements due to expire at the end of the year.
Discussion is still at a preliminary stage given we have yet to even agree on the number of Agreements that will be negotiated.

Aurizon have outlined their position on the number of Agreements and together with that view have produced a proposed set of documents which are essentially a log of claims.

Unions were given two options with regards the logs of claim proposals:

to wait for around two weeks (the 17th May) to see Aurizon’s starting position. Aurizon would have held back their bargaining position and no-one would have seen it;
to agree to receive the material for the purposes of understanding clearly where Aurizon was coming from and then going through the material carefully to be able to provide an accurate comparison of current arrangements versus what is proposed by the employer. This could only be achieved if we agreed to not distribute the material broadly until the 17th May.

There was no benefit to the RTBU members not to accept the documents in advance but insisted that this should be shared at least with some of our experienced delegates in a workshop in Brisbane. Eventually after 2 days of discussions, we settled on an agreed number of RTBU and other union delegates to be released to work with RTBU Officials on these documents. The RTBU secured agreement for 14 representatives across the grades to participate in the review for want of a better term the “employer’s wish list”.

Naturally, the RTBU is not comfortable withholding information from members at any time, but without the commitment to partial confidentiality being agreed to by the Unions, the Union would not have the material in the first place. There are no restrictions on distribution of the material after 17th May (2 week’s time).

RTBU Organisers will be working with delegates across the business to further develop the Union log of claims. They will also be in a position to better shape that in the knowledge of the employer’s position in bargaining.

We intend to use the next few weeks to comprehensively measure the Aurizon documents against current arrangements and finalise the log of claims to allow negotiation to commence.

This is the commencement of a long process which will involve a lot of work by officials and workplace delegates alike. We expect it will be a tough round of bargaining given it is the first set of negotiations with Aurizon as a fully private entity.

Despite the challenges, the RTBU remains committed to ensuring members interests are put first.

Unity is Strength

Owen Doogan
State Secretary