Rail Tram and Bus Union Queensland Branch
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Shift Extension Dispute

Following the Conference in the Fair Work Commission a recommendation was provided which saw the company agree to no longer roster ‘protective’ 12 hour shifts on the daily roster.

Aurizon were to also review, in consultation, the situation where some train services couldn’t be operated within the nominated shift length and make provision for that.

To that end Aurizon provided a proposal which exceeded what the Unions and Aurizon had agreed to – it was distributed a few days ago and met significant opposition. Members and workplace reps opposed it because it added depots not in the trial, and services which were easily handled within the nominal shift length among other things.

Importantly though – it was provided without consultation and earmarked for implementation. It was typical Aurizon heavy handedness.

Following our raising of concerns with Aurizon along with the threat of heading back the Fair Work Commission the proposal was withdrawn and we met with Aurizon. The narrower agreed trial was dealt with and agreed. Critically though, the agreement included the requirement for consultation and engagement to occur at depots. This is fundamental to the operation of the trial.

Beyond that we understand from workplace representatives that Aurizon are abiding by the requirement to no longer roster ‘prospective’ 12 hour shifts. They appear also, in the main, to be arranging relief. However, there is some concern that in some instances the agreed consultation is not occurring. Your workplace delegates are following this up.

However, there are certainly signs that intervention is working but of course, like always it demands our vigilance. Your workplace reps are unsurprisingly sceptical. They, like everyone, are concerned that when the attention of the Fair Work Commission is no longer on the issue Aurizon will revert to their past sloppy practices. Of course, we won’t know until the trial is complete but what we do know is that it requires vigilance from everyone.

It is critical that members remain in touch with workplace reps through and beyond the trial to ensure Aurizon are holding up their end of the bargain. They have a history of pushing the boundaries and it’s up to us to not just keep them honest, but force them to play by the rules they agreed to.

Unity is Strength

Owen Doogan
RTBU State Secretary,
Queensland Branch