Rail Tram and Bus Union Queensland Branch
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High Court Challenge Against LNP’s Removal of QR Workers’ Conditions

Members may recall that the LNP Government enacted Legislation which they interpreted meant that they could remove the protections Queensland Rail (QR) workers had by being covered by a Federal Agreement outside the control of the Queensland Legislative Assembly and transferred your Agreement to the Queensland Industrial Relations Commission (QIRC).

This meant QR workers, like all other public service employees, were subject to the removal of many conditions including those relating to job security, consultation and dispute settlement, legislated away by the LNP Government. It also meant that QR was attempting to shove down the throats of many workers through arbitration appalling conditions rejected overwhelmingly in a ballot by workers involved.

The matter went to a hearing at the High Court prior to the establishment of a new Government in Queensland. Whilst commitments have been provided by the current Government for restoration of these conditions, this could take some time and will no doubt be subject to negotiations.

However, if the High Court challenge by the RTBU and some other Unions is successful, this will mean that the conditions contained in your previous Agreement would be retained and negotiations on your Agreement would be undertaken under the authority of the Federal Industrial Relations system (Fair Work Australia) instead of the currently tainted QIRC.

The RTBU has been advised that the High Court will be handing its decision on Wednesday, 8 April 2015.

Whilst our legal team are reasonably confident about the potential outcome of this High Court challenge, it is still uncertain what the High Court will conclude when the decision is handed down. The RTBU’s policy is to have all our Rail Agreements remain in the Federal system where there is independence from legislative assaults by hostile State Governments in respect of work conditions. The RTBU is therefore hopeful that the High Court has made a decision in favour of the Unions’ case.

I will keep members advised of developments in relation to this matter.

Unity is Strength

Owen Doogan
RTBU State Secretary,
Queensland Branch