Rail Tram and Bus Union Queensland Branch
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Aurizon Bargaining Update

17 June 2013

The RTBU has reported on a few occasions that we have been in discussions around the new Agreements for a couple of sessions now. In line with these discussions we have also now almost completed a round of members meetings to discuss the log of claims.

All the way along we have made clear that the first thing we need to determine is the number of agreements that will be negotiated. We need to do that for a few reasons.

Firstly and given Aurizon want to have only two Agreements for the entire workforce, if we start talking about content instead of numbers of agreements we collectively lose our right to take that argument further to the Fair Work Commission. Itís a complicated set of rules we have to work by, but they are clear on that point.

Secondly, we have heard memberís views that they want their agreements to more closely reflect their work areas. They want some modernisation and there is room for bringing together of some agreements but two is not enough. We now and always respect our memberís views.

So far, there has been no Agreement on the number of EBAís to be negotiated which isnít unusual. Itís a key issue and there are several months to go before the current ones expire, so while we donít want to waste time, we shouldnít rush key decisions.

The reason the number of Agreements is a key decision for so many people is because there are many large groups concerned that the issues of their particular work areas might get swamped among larger groups. Itís a fair concern and one we are always conscious of. The RTBU is an all grades union and unity is our strength. We also get strength from making sure we donít leave people behind. Like many members have said, itís about a balance in terms of the numbers of Agreements.

Aurizon decided that they would notify the Fair Work Commission that there is a breakdown in the discussions and therefore need help reaching agreement.

The RTBU doesnít share Aurizonís view and is quite prepared to continue with discussions on the number of Agreements. We always prefer to reach agreement and work towards achieving that at the negotiating table.

Nonetheless we will participate positively with the Fair Work Commission to reach an acceptable outcome. Itís not a formal hearing that we are entering into; itís a conciliation conference where the Commissioner will assist us all in reaching an agreement.

The RTBU will provide further updates as we make further progress.

Unity is Strength

Owen Doogan
Branch Secretary