Rail Tram and Bus Union Queensland Branch
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Aurizon's Sense of Humour (63/2014)

Members are no doubt aware by now that the five proposed forms of industrial action for Train Crew, etc. received between 85% & 90% support in the ballot with the majority of those employees with a right to vote voting YES to industrial action. Aurizon has released an Employee Update re our ballot which is somewhat amusing.

Many members will be aware that recently Aurizon received a 51% Yes vote for an Agreement pertaining to Staff employees only (Admin, etc.). After having to admit their incompetence to the Fair Work Commission in organising the ballot, resulting in votes for employees not covered by the Agreement (including fairly senior management), the validity of the outcome was quite understandably perceived to be dubious. However rather than balloting again, whereby a result would have been known some time ago, they determined to consume their shareholders money to try and prove they still had a legitimate handful majority in favour of the Agreement. At this stage Fair Work has still not approved this Agreement.

Members will therefore appreciate the humour in Aurizon protesting that even a majority of those allowed to vote (and over 85% of those voting) is not enough people voting for industrial action when Aurizon has probably spent tens of thousands of dollars defending a minuscule majority in an Agreement, with barely 33% of those covered by the Aurizon Agreement voting in favour!! A bit rich for Aurizon to have such a view.

Over 60% is a good return for a postal ballot, particularly since (as stated in last Tuesday’s RTBU newsletter) the combined efforts of the Australian Electoral Commission and Australia Post meant that some members never received ballot papers in time to participate in the vote.

The RTBU is quite prepared to continue with negotiations with Aurizon in order to try and reach an agreement and we believe the message that has been sent by members through this ballot and the massive rejection of the two Employer drafted Agreements should be listened to by Aurizon. It is time for Aurizon to make some effort to settle.

Quite frankly the Unions patience with the intransigence of Aurizon over the last 18 months has frayed and members have been demanding the right to ballot for industrial action for some time.

The RTBU is also considering whether or not to ballot some of the other areas within Aurizon at present. I will keep members advised of all developments with respect to both negotiations and potential industrial action.

Unity is Strength

Owen Doogan
RTBU State Secretary,
Queensland Branch