Rail Tram and Bus Union Queensland Branch
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BMA Refuses to go to a Referees Decision

Whilst most members were getting excited about Grand Final weekend, BMA hides from the referee.

I refer members to our newsletters (see link below) relating to BMA’s unilateral decision to remove the access to mutual exchange of shifts from BMA employees covered by the BMA Rail Agreement.

The matter was heard on Friday as Conciliation in the Fair Work Commission. Your union put forward that there had been insufficient consultation and that we sought that BMA simply consult with employees and draw on the hundreds of combined years of experience amongst traincrew to find an operationally sound outcome to the mutual swaps.

Not only did BMA feel that this was not an idea worth exploring, they believe that this decision is not a major issue and as such has no obligation to consult.

Putting all the legal argument aside, we sought a common sense outcome that could suit both sides via a consultation process. After hearing the RTBU arguments and comments from the Fair Work Deputy President, the BMA advocate considered he should put the proposal to the BMA management.

BMA Management responded within an hour of the end of the hearing with a categorical “NO”.

Even with the Deputy President of the commission applying pressure on BMA to undergo a genuine consultative process, BMA still stood firm that there is no need to consult with workers.

The next step in the dispute process requires both parties to agree to go to an independent referee (arbitration) and whist the RTBU gave immediate consent to go to arbitration, BMA, as indicated above, have chosen to hide behind the word “agree” and refuse the option of going to a referee’s decision.

To say this is disappointing behaviour, from a corporate giant that burst onto the QLD rail scene spouting family friendly rosters, drum beat train running and predictability in roster, is an understatement.

BMA are very quick to remind members about charter values and going the extra mile for the company, but when given the opportunity to draw on the huge amount of traincrew experience in the depot to solve an issue that affects all traincrew, they hide behind “perceived obligation and words in legislation”.

This is another example of why your union is constantly campaigning to change workplace laws to permit taking an unresolved issue to an independent workplace referee as a basic workplace right.

Unity is Strength

Bruce Mackie
Queensland State President

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