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Aurizon Train Crew Industrial Action / Negotiations (64/2014)

The AFULE distributed a negotiations update over the weekend which included a statement suggesting that the RTBU had taken a step without discussion/consultation with the AFULE and the AFULE were opposed to it being sent. This is specifically related to the RTBU forwarding a draft proposal on a matter to Aurizon which had not at that stage been formally endorsed by the AFULE. Attached is an email from the Secretary of the AFULE to the Aurizon HR Manager involved in the negotiations in which Mr Smith advised that he had “no objection” to the RTBU sending this document.

There is clearly some misunderstanding between the parties on this matter.

It is in the interests of Aurizon Train Crew for the RTBU and the AFULE to be working together on this matter. We are facing an employer with an agenda to strip many of the hard won conditions of Aurizon workers from them.

There was a tactical difference between the RTBU and the AFULE since March on the best manner to progress the campaign. I think it is now commonly known that the RTBU had been seeking the joint Unions to participate in an industrial campaign since March. The AFULE did not agree with this at that time. In the interests of unity and respect for the other Unions the RTBU refrained from pursuing the industrial action angle over the many months that followed. In October, we reached the stage where our judgement was that we could not wait any longer before exercising the legitimate industrial tactic of balloting for industrial action. A few weeks later, the AFULE also determined to use the ballot for industrial action avenue.

Clearly we are now in a position to work together given both Unions are now on the same page in respect of industrial action.

The only immediate complication is the timing of action for the RTBU which has to occur within 30 days of completion of the ballot.

Today I have written to the AFULE seeking formal discussions with them to attempt to reach agreement for a joint campaign. This is only fair to all Aurizon Train Crew involved particularly given that Aurizon will almost certainly exploit any differences between the parties. Whether the RTBU’s tactics for industrial action in March or the AFULE’s preference not to have industrial action at the time were right or wrong, no-one will ever know and it is now history. It is now time to put this behind us and focus on addressing the Aurizon’s attack on members’ conditions.

I will keep members advised of all developments.

Unity is Strength

Owen Doogan
RTBU State Secretary,
Queensland Branch

Email from the Secretary of the AFULE to the Aurizon HR Manager

From: A.F.U.L.E. [mailto:statesecretary@afule.org.au]
Sent: Thursday, 11 December 2014 3:10 PM
To: Michael Heenan
Cc: 'Mel Brewer'; Peter Allen
Subject: Aurizon negotiations

Mick –

I understand that the RTBU have provided Aurizon with a proposal relating to crewing arrangements. While the AFULE has no objection to the RTBU putting a proposal to Aurizon, the AFULE represents the majority of traincrew and I have not yet had the opportunity to be briefed on the proposal by our representatives and we are not in a position to advise whether we endorse the RTBU’s proposal at this time.

I look forward to the negotiations with Aurizon recommencing in the new year.