Rail Tram and Bus Union Queensland Branch
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Aurizon Staff Agreement Vote in Question

When the results of the Staff Agreement Ballot were released last week the RTBU was surprised at the thin margin in favour but was concerned that despite that result, it showed there was a strong division in the workplace.

In the days following the ballot result, what started as questions about who was entitled to vote and who wasn’t, started to turn into much more complex questions which really questions the result.

We began to hear that contract based managers had received a vote, that some people with comparable jobs had gotten a vote in different agreements, that some people didn’t get voting material until after the ballot closed.

On top of this, Aurizon put material to the Fair Work Commission saying that dozens of people had been initially provided with a vote, until the error was found and they were then withdrawn from the ballot. Despite that 13 people had voted before the error was fixed.

Today Aurizon admitted that there were an additional few people who were given ballot papers when they weren’t entitled to vote.

You have a right – despite whether they voted for or against the agreement – to feel satisfied that the outcome has some integrity, that it was a valid process. To have so many errors, and more becoming apparent every day it lacks credibility.

The Fair Work Commission today held a Conference for the Parties. We exchanged views but Aurizon held its view. Despite what is now clearly a wafer thin margin, with a range of issues coming to light in the last few days and who knows how many more in the next few weeks – Aurizon still pressed to have the Agreement certified.

The Fair Work Commission determined that it wants to hear further about the issues that have been raised and to that end have set a hearing for the 1 and 2 December.

This means a decision on the Agreement will not be likely to be made until nearer the end of the year or possibly into next year.

Aurizon can and should do one thing. They should hold another vote. They would get the result back well before the Commission Hearing and it would end the uncertainty.

The Commission urged us to try and reach agreement on a way forward, and this is clearly the most sensible and decisive way to go forward.

Aurizon should take some time, get its list right and put the Agreement back out to vote.

In the meantime if you have any information or concerns about the conduct of the ballot, please let your workplace delegate or Organiser know right away.

Unity is Strength
Owen Doogan
RTBU State Secretary
Queensland Branch