Rail Tram and Bus Union Queensland Branch
 
 
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Aurizon Industrial Action: Latest Developments

I refer members to the newsletter forwarded on Friday advising of the plan of Industrial Action at all Aurizon Traincrew depots and by ARG employees in North-West Queensland. This followed a notice by the AFULE to take Industrial Action at these depots on that day.

Whilst it is regrettable, there is no doubt that an industrial action campaign is needed to try and get Aurizon to be more reasonable in the negotiations attempting to reach Agreements.

AFULE withdraw Fridayís action

After close of business yesterday, the RTBU received a copy of a letter to Aurizon from the AFULE advising that they had withdrawn their plans for Industrial Action this Friday. This follows Aurizon identifying some errors in the AFULE application in which they alleged would have meant that any action by AFULE members would have been unprotected.

AFULE action on Sunday

The AFULE also advised Aurizon that they intend to take action in all the coal fields, the North-West corridor, all coastal freight depots and Emerald on Sunday, 22 February 2015.

Unfortunately, given the fact that the RTBU was not consulted, and did not receive a copy of the AFULE notice to Aurizon of the AFULEís intention to take action on Sunday until after normal business hours yesterday, the RTBU is not in a position to take action on Sunday. There is a requirement for five full working days between the notice of the action and the action and yesterday was the day in which the RTBU would have had to formally notify Aurizon of protected action on Sunday.

Need for United Action

Members will be aware that the RTBU has consistently been seeking a join Industrial campaign involving both Unions represented in the Traincrew grade. The AFULE did not consult with the RTBU before determining to take Industrial Action next Friday but we were provided with sufficient time in order for officers, Executive Committee members & some delegates to confer and make a decision that we would also take action on Friday. Whilst we had some uncertainly about the tactics being utilised by the AFULE in relation to this action, the strong desire by members that both Unions should operate together was instrumental in the determination of the Union to call our members out on Friday, the 20th. We understood this would be a joint RTBU/AFULE Industrial campaign on that day.

RTBU Industrial Action on Friday, 20 February 2015

Given that the RTBU is the only Union now taking Industrial Action on Friday, and taking into consideration some other strategic deliberation by the RTBU, this Union has withdrawn the notice for Industrial Action in respect of the North-West corridor ARG depots, freight depots generally and the Goonyella coal depots. All four depots in the Blackwater system and the Newlands system will be taking Industrial Action on Friday the 20th. This therefore means that Bluff, Callemondah, Stanwell and Pring will be conducting a 24-hour strike on Friday 20th February 2015.

RTBU Industrial Action on Monday, 23 February 2015

The RTBU has notified Aurizon of a 24-hour strike in the Goonyella system from 00.01 hours on Monday 23rd February 2015. This will mean that RTBU members in both Coppabella and Jilalan will conduct a 24-hour strike on Monday.

RTBU Seeks Agreement from AFULE

As indicated earlier the Unions have been forced into and industrial action campaign by Aurizonís intransigence. However members of both Unions have made it clear they want their Union leaders to work together in respect of negotiations and any industrial action. RTBU has today written to the AFULE seeking one of two options:

That both Unions withdraw current Industrial Action notices and agree on a joint strategy for the industrial action campaign which could commence on Monday or Tuesday next week.
OR
Following the current proposed industrial action from both Unions, the two Unions agree on a joint campaign until the dispute is over.

This is what members of both Unions want and a united approach will inevitably strengthen the Unionsí position and is by far in the best interest of members of both Unions. I will advise members of the response from the AFULE upon receipt.

Unity is Strength

Owen Doogan
RTBU State Secretary,
Queensland Branch