Rail Tram and Bus Union Queensland Branch
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QR EBA News Update


This circular is designed for QR Delegates. Itís provided more details than are included in the general members circulars so you have answers for questions which might emerge. General members circulars are written so members have quick access to the key facts.

RTBU negotiators were bargaining with QR Managers and in contact with Qld Government at the same time right through last Friday.

We believe that we have agreement on almost all Core items such as Casual Employment, Securing polices and restoring fairness to them, Dispute Settlement, Vacancies. We are on the cusp of resolving the Contracting out Clause with some fine detail to be completed today.

There has also been a significant offer for wages which we believe is a major win for this round.

We have now secured agreement for a backdated 3% wage offer over four years. The important part of the offer is how it would be paid.

The Agreement can only be approved after accepted by members which due to drafting and balloting requirements, particularly over the holiday period, will not be finalised until late February, 2016 at the earliest. If the Agreement is accepted members will receive a 6% pay increase from 1 March 2016 and 3% on the same date in 2017 & 2018.

Beyond that members would also receive about a years back pay of 3% of earnings since 1 March 2015.

The terms of the agreement in principle reached over the core items are also a significant step forward for members Ė they go a long way to starting the path back to more secure employment for many members. They place important controls on how insecure employment will be phased out.

Naturally, once the proposed clauses are ironed out they will be distributed immediately. For your information though here are the key elements:

Casual employment: Current casuals with 6 months employment will be offered permanent jobs. New casuals will be offered permanency after 6 months and the work must be irregular. The preference must be for permanent jobs wherever possible in the first place.

Contracting: Phasing out of labour hire arrangements where they are doing traditional internal work. Existing large construction projects and joint ventures currently in place to remain (eg Ė large bridge work recently signed for Coomera upgrade, and MBRL). Smaller contracts to be brought back in house, phased out where necessary by introducing appropriate training and recruitment to allow a smooth transition. Joint Committee to oversee proposals to contract out work from 1 January onwards, given plenty of notice to allow proper consideration and subject to a dispute process if agreement is unable to be reached. Agreement that traditionally internal work to be brought back in house.

Policies: Policies important to members and affecting pay and agreement conditions to be reverted back to pre-Newman versions (where necessary) and locked into agreement.

Recruitment and Selection: Retention of merit selection principle but preference for displaced persons in recruitment process. Internal applicants given higher status in the selection process Ė we now expect that internal applicants who can at least cover the basic requirements of a position will be given an interview or equivalent depending on the selection process used.

Dispute Procedure: The dispute procedure now clearly established that the status quo must be maintained once the procedure is commenced. This is a crucial protection, especially for disputes which are complex and can take time to resolve. It ensures that there is a level playing field and management canít just ram through changes which can be hard to reverse as time goes on even if we win the dispute.

One thing is for sure: the Newman wrecking ball will be felt for a long time. This agreement in principle will be the foundation for our ongoing work to repair the damage.

We are pleased that we have been able to work constructively with the Palaszczuk Government to secure important conditions for members. The proof of that is in the agreement in principle we have reached.

There is still further to go in this process. We have drafting to be completed and that can be tricky. We expect however to move through that in the next day or so with more information for you as it comes to hand.

Finally, but most importantly. These sorts of agreements donít come from thin air or because of tricky negotiating skills. They come from something much more fundamental Ė they come from unity and persistence of you and your fellow members. People held together through the Newman years. You kept the pressure up and participated in the negotiations under the new regime. You were patient while they got their feet under the desk, and were not scared to stand up when they took a bit longer than we would have liked.

There would have been no pressure on this or any other government without members, and their local workplace leaders working together. This is a big win, and you are the reason we got it.

The work isnít over, but take a moment over the Christmas period and celebrate the season if thatís what you and your family do. But also savour this win knowing - while it comes with little fanfare - it sets the stage for a much brighter future than we might have seen otherwise.

Unity is Strength

Owen Doogan
RTBU State Secretary,
Queensland Branch