Rail Tram and Bus Union Queensland Branch
 
 
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Protected Action Ballot for Aurizon

The RTBU and other Unions have been in negotiation with Aurizon for well over a year trying to secure appropriate Agreements for members to consider. It’s been a slow journey with few milestones so far.

We’ve seen Aurizon put on the table a document so far from what members have been prepared to consider, it’s insulting. Aurizon know it and yet they won’t change their position.

Unions continued pressing the claim in the face of Aurizon initiating bargaining disputes in front of the Fair Work Commission. We pressed your views in further negotiations involving delegates from across the operation and the state.

We’ve tried to protect your conditions through face to face negotiations and Aurizon appear to think that approach shows weakness.

Some months ago Aurizon took legal action against your very agreements. They have applied to Fair Work Australia to cancel your agreements, presumably to put pressure on your representatives to cave in to their demands.

In the face of this the RTBU and other Unions continued to use various tactics available to us to get Aurizon back to the negotiating table. In relation to these negotiations we made no apology, however, about the fact we were not at the table to water down people’s conditions of employment and protections. We were there to protect conditions not gut them.

In concluding the last round of negotiations, Aurizon attempted to ambush their workforce by initiating ballots of their workforce on unreasonable draft Agreements. In a very short time frame they toured Queensland providing spin that would even embarrass “doctors” of this ilk and advising the RTBU in writing we would not be provided with access to put any alternative view. In the agreements covering the vast majority of their employees, Aurizon got a resounding NO vote.

We’ve spoken to members across Queensland several times and they have shown a resolve rarely seen these days. Members attended meetings in great numbers and they wanted to start a campaign of industrial action – to put pressure on Aurizon to get real and make a fair deal.

It seems that Aurizon don’t take us seriously when we say our members want us to fight for their conditions.

Following feedback from delegates across the State in Aurizon and on motions of the RTBU Executive we will be asking Fair Work Australia for a Protected Action Ballot. The action sought will be addressed at maximising the effect of the campaign and will not necessarily impact directly on all members in the first place.

At this stage the RTBU has a different position in respect of industrial action from some other Unions, but we welcome them to join with us at some future point.

The first ballot will impact on RTBU Traincrew area and some other operations employees with further ballots to follow.

We will ensure members are kept advised of all further details relating to this matter.

Unity is Strength
Owen Doogan
RTBU State Secretary
Queensland Branch