Rail Tram and Bus Union Queensland Branch
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Rail Union's Victory in High Court

Newman's Attack on Worker's Conditions Quashed

Following the LNP Governmentís decision to transfer QR workerís conditions from the Federal system to the Queensland Industrial Relations system the RTBU and other Unions challenged the move in the High Court. We believed that the transfer, and resulting theft of many conditions, by the LNP Government was illegal.

Unfortunately, the High Court procedures take significant time, particularly when the other party (the LNP State Government) puts so many blockages in the way to try and delay this matter.

Iím pleased to advise that we have been successful and that our understanding of todayís High Court Decision is that the conditions stolen from workers through LNP Governmentís actions in this matter will be restored.

High Court matters are always complicated but the case boiled down to whether the Newman Government had the right to simply pass laws bringing QR back under its own lousy workplace laws. The High Court said that they did not have that right.

The Traincrew Agreement expired shortly after the Newman Government came to power and was replaced by a State Agreement with pay rises included in there.

There was no equivalent Agreement in the Federal system and therefore 2.25% and 2.5% pay increases in 2013 and 2014 are not covered by the Federal Agreement.

The RTBU had discussions with both the Industrial Relations Minister and the Transport Minister last week and has met with the Chief Executive following on from those discussions who has given a commitment that there will be no reduction in the wages and conditions of a positive nature contained in this Agreement.

In respect of those members who had the QR draft replacement Agreements referred to arbitration under the LNP Government legislation, the Queensland Industrial Relations Commission has no longer got the authority to arbitrate and therefore such applications to the Commission are null and void.

The Unions will now be seeking to negotiate Agreements in the Federal arena to replace the Agreements which have expired over the last few years in the Federal system.

Today I received a commitment from the QR CEO that there would be no reduction in conditions for QR workers as a result of the High Court decision and that discussions will now commence to address the issues flowing from this Agreement. All industrial conditions will remain in place whilst this process is undertaken.

A full analysis of this High court Decision is currently under way and I will provide members with further details on this matter in the near future.

Unity is Strength

Owen Doogan
RTBU State Secretary,
Queensland Branch