Rail Tram and Bus Union Queensland Branch
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Termination of Agreements Case - Day 2 & 3

Below is a report from the RTBU Industrial Team which is providing support to our legal team during the hearing of Aurizonís application to terminate your Agreements.

Day Two

On Thursday the FWC case heard more from management about their case to terminate your agreements, and put you back to the award.*

In answer to questions about what life without roster certainty would be like, management wriggled around the point and clearly didn't want to admit that if you were responsible for dropping your kids off at childcare or school but instead got called back to work with little notice Ė it would make your life hard. Despite umming and ahhing, they at least admitted it would make life hard for at least some people. A big admission that shows they either donít know, or donít care about what the proposed changes would mean for their workforce.

Other statements made were by Aurizonís expert. Despite modelling the differences between Aurizon and Pacific National to try and show just how hardly done by Aurizon is there seemed to be a gap in his understanding.

For starters, he admitted his analysis was on an old PN agreement. Amazingly he admitted he was not particularly aware of how PN operates, its staff numbers or for that matter even Aurizon staff numbers or hours worked in any particular period. You would think they would have tried to dig a bit deeper if they were fair dinkum about their case.

Despite all this, thereís a long way to go and lots more evidence to go before the Commission.

Day Three

Friday was the Union sides turn to put evidence. The Commission heard from Union witnesses that the reason Aurizonís negotiations had gone on so long is principally because Aurizon had adopted an inflexible, unreasonable and unacceptable position in bargaining.

The Commission also heard that if Aurizon got its way the effects on workers across the company would be catastrophic seeing reductions in wages, wild shift in power to the employer in the workplace and in negotiations now continuing into the future.

When asked by our barrister why the RTBU had sought to ballot members on the question of industrial action our witness took the opportunity to advise the Commission that it was part of the normal process in Agreement negotiation and it was about time, in our opinion, that the employer felt some pressure to come to an agreement. The case will continue on Monday.

Unity is Strength
Owen Doogan
State Secretary

* For clarity Ė Aurizon have offered additional assurances over the award. Theyíve also admitted that they are the arbiter if thereís a dispute and if you want to go further with a breach then youíd have to line up at a court to sue them. It also could be withdrawn. One thing not in the assurances is any job security for current EITís who, they also admit, would be gone very shortly after the termination of agreements if they got their way.