Rail Tram and Bus Union Queensland Branch
 
 
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Aurizon: the Truth of the Matter

Some records are just there to be broken and Aurizon has been doing spectacularly well in moving more coal and accumulating unprecedented profits.

There are other records however that shouldn’t be broken. Aurizon seem to want to break records as far as mean and tricky employers go. It might seem they sound like a broken record when they send circular after circular attacking the RTBU for standing up for members. They hate that we won’t bow down and recommend members accept a wholesale reduction in conditions.

They have said that they need so called ‘modern agreements’. They need them to compete or so they keep saying.

They can’t get the RTBU to agree so they have to engage expensive lawyers to try and cancel your agreements using sterile court processes – they seem desperate to cancel the legally enforceable protections you have a right to expect.

The reality is that the RTBU has listened to our members in Aurizon. RTBU members have made it clear that they want to maintain many conditions that are fundamental to the quality of both their work and home life.

RTBU Aurizon members know that they are working for a company that:

Has shares that have rocketed up by over 90% (more than 25% a year) since privatisation;
Have very comfortable profits each year; and
Are able to pay massive salaries to their senior executives.

All of this has occurred by the work you, as their bread winners, have done on your current Agreement conditions.

Yet they plead to their workers that Aurizon’s world will fall apart if you do not sacrifice these conditions; the same conditions which allow the company to make heaps of money.

The only time they pause in sending out their ‘woe are us’ propaganda is when they have to stop by to get advice from their financial consultants on how to spend the obscene massive salaries. Make no mistake – people should be paid their worth – of course. But when some on the Executive team earn a whopping $3,000+ an hour – it starts looking more like greed than anything else, doesn’t it?

They claim they are not able to introduce adequate change under the current Agreements.

Really!!! How many times have they introduced significant changes in various workplaces since privatisation? It’s in the dozens, if not hundreds, of occasions.

Only recently in the Australian Financial Review, Aurizon were only too pleased to release information that allowed the paper to print that Aurizon had managed to reduce its workforce by 2000 since privatisation.

This is not a company in trouble. This is a highly successful company, thanks to its workers, who should be prepared to share its profits with its workforce rather than focusing solely on its major shareholders scattered throughout the world.

The real question is why they would want to take this unprecedented action against their workforce? Why would they want to try and strip back the legally enforceable protections and instead provide a handful of guarantees for a limited amount of time?

The answer is actually quite simple. It’s about greed and even more control than what they have.

They want to effectively dictate things like your roster and other work arrangements. They also want to remove fair and reasonable job protection measures.

Aurizon can spin it any way they want – their ploy to try and wind back conditions of employment should be seen for what it is – a con job. The RTBU won’t accept it. They can criticise us as much as they want. We will fight them in the courts, but we won’t be sitting around waiting for that.

Now that we’ve had a chance to talk with members about the outrageous plan to cancel the current Agreements, we will be seeking to recommence negotiations.

The question for Aurizon will be plain: Are they prepared to stop playing with people’s lives? Will they genuinely commence negotiations for fair and reasonable Agreements which don’t seek to wind back the protections members have a right to expect? If they are fair dinkum, they’ll end their games and start talking about a fair deal.

Unity is Strength

Owen Doogan
State Secretary
Queensland Branch