Rail Tram and Bus Union Queensland Branch
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Democracy: LNP Style: No Forced Redundancies, etc - All Gone

3 May 2013

The Newman LNP Government has intervened in a democratic Agreement between Queensland Rail workers and the employer Queensland Rail by utilising Parliamentary legislation to steal negotiated conditions from Queensland Rail workers.

Agreements contain benefits to both sides and both the positives and negatives are accepted as a package by workers only when voted on in a ballot by a majority of participants.

This theft of conditions had already occurred in respect of all other public service employees who had such conditions in their agreement.

Just over five years ago Queensland Rail attempted to persuade Queensland Rail workers to give up their right to the “no forced redundancy and no forced relocation” provisions by offering a payment of $10,000 to all employees.

There was massive opposition to losing these conditions throughout Queensland Rail and eventually an agreement was secured providing 4% increases but without the loss of the “no forced redundancy and no forced relocation” provisions.

The LNP Government has now removed this provision not through negotiations and a democratic vote as they were created, but through an act of Parliament. It’s just plain cowardly.

There are provisions in your current Agreement pertaining to consultation where change which could affect jobs may be going to occur and where contracting out is considered.

Again, through an act of Parliament the LNP has removed your right to have these provisions in your Agreement. Through their cowardly processes they have watered down rights to be consulted over change in a way designed to avoid scrutiny of their actions.

Please understand that when the LNP made the statements in the media and elsewhere that all QR workers current conditions would be maintained when they were transferred to a State Agreement from a Federal Agreement as a result of Queensland Rail becoming a Statutory Authority, they neglected to advise that the above mentioned conditions were excluded.

Eight years the Howard Liberal/National Government passed legislation which forced Queensland Rail workers to be transferred from the State system to the Federal system which reduced the rights and conditions contained in Agreements (WorkChoices).

Now that these rights and conditions have been returned to the Federal arena, a State LNP Government is transferring Queensland Rail workers to the State system where your rights and conditions will be less.

The RTBU approached the Minister for Transport’s office and sought that the legislation in respect of transferring employees to the State system should exclude the reduction in any conditions in their Agreements at least until the termination of their Agreement.

This is between the end of June (in respect of one Agreement) and the end of March, 2014 for all the rest of the Agreements.

Even this minor concession was rejected by the Government and this week legislation has been passed which removes:

any job security provisions in Agreements (no forced redundancies, no forced relocations, etc.)
any conditions pertaining to potential contracting out
any provisions pertaining to consultation in respect of change within the industry

The reality is that State public servants, which Queensland Rail employees will now become, have conditions worse than those under the WorkChoices legislation of the Howard Liberal/National Party Government.

This LNP Government has snatched all job security provisions from your Agreement through legislation in the same week as they announced their desire to move to outsourcing potentially thousands of Queensland Rail jobs.

When members of this Union along with the rest of the Queensland electorate went to the ballot box in 2012, the potential privatisation of the rest of Queensland Rail was certainly not expected of the incoming Government. The privatisation of health services and other Government services was also not contemplated. Campbell Newman made a statement during the campaign that “public servants had nothing to fear from an LNP Government”.

For every action there is a reaction and the RTBU along with other Unions in Queensland in conjunction with many others within our community will be campaigning against the draconian policies of the LNP Government which have potential profound implications for the job security of our members within Queensland Rail and Brisbane City Council bus operations.

The RTBU Executive will be meeting next week as part of the development of the campaign against the privatisation agenda of the Newman Government. In the meantime we would encourage members to make it clear to their local member of parliament of their opposition to the theft of their conditions (democratically voted for) and the attack on their job security.

The RTBU will keep members advised of all developments in respect of this matter.

Unity is Strength

Owen Doogan
State Secretary