Rail Tram and Bus Union Queensland Branch
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Aurizon - return to work after parental leave

Recently the RTBU was approached by a woman train driver who had just returned to work after parental leave. She had requested that she be allowed to return to work on a part time basis working fixed hours in a fortnightly roster. Aurizon agreed that she was able to do this.

The woman began working this fixed pattern of work believing that she was entitled to 70% of the full-flat rate because she was working 70% of a full time employee. Perhaps not surprisingly, Aurizon saw things differently.

Aurizon sent her an offer which would see her wages reduced to 52.3% of the full-flat rate. They said they were able to do so because this was a “compassionate circumstance.”

The RTBU was not prepared to take this one lying down so we disputed the wage reduction. Last week, Commissioner Spencer determined that this member was entitled to be paid 70% of the full flat rate and ordered Aurizon to comply.

What is shocking for the RTBU is that the newly appointed “Equity and Diversity Manager”, Darren Hooper was representing Aurizon in this matter. He argued that this was a compassionate circumstance and that it was absolutely compassionate of Aurizon to allow this member to work part time around her childcare needs.

This shows a huge gap in the understanding of Aurizon’s own Equity and Diversity Manager in not understanding a woman’s rights in terms of flexible working arrangements under the Fair Work Act 2009 and absolute disregard for discrimination law.

If you or anyone you know is returning from parental leave and you want to know about your rights and entitlements, please contact the office and speak to your Women’s Officer, Carla Jones.

Take care out there!

Unity is Strength

Carla Jones
RTBU Industrial & Women’s Officer