Bulk coal transporter, Aurizon, has succeeded in pushing through a new enterprise agreement with sections of their workforce, despite one key union conducting rolling stoppages at depots throughout Queensland earlier this month.
The Fair Work Commission (FWC) late Wednesday announced it had made a favourable decision regarding Aurizon’s Staff Enterprise Agreement (EA).
The new agreement only applies to employees in control centres, operations service centres, administration, professionals, team leaders and technical specialists.
Train crew, operators, construction and maintenance staff do not come under this agreement and the Rail, Trams and Bus Union is still strongly opposing any changes after close to 18 months of negotiations.
Speaking to the Morning Bulletin in late December, Union state secretary Owen Doogan said, “We have been forced to take industrial action to try and encourage this employer to participate positively in negotiations to reach amicable agreements,”
“This industrial action does not need to occur, as we offered to suspend all industrial action if they (Aurizon) withdrew their application to seek to terminate the current agreements and enter into meaningful discussions.” Mr Doogan said.
24 hour stoppages were held at Aurizon’s Rockhampton and Sarina depots earlier this month and overtime bans were implemented at depots at Bluff, Stanwell, Pring (Bowen), Coppabella (near Moranbah) and Callemondah (Gladstone).
In a statement released by Aurizon yesterday, the company said the change was about modernising the agreement.
“Approximately 1400 Aurizon employees will receive a 4% pay rise annually for three years along with more contemporary employment conditions that will help deliver significant productivity and efficiency improvements,” the statement said.
“Aurizon received a positive vote by employees on the Staff EA in October 2014. However, execution of the Agreement had been delayed by the unions’ challenging the outcome through FWC.”
Aurizon Managing Director & CEO Lance Hockridge said the finalisation of the Staff EA was an important step towards achieving the change and reform that would sustain and grow Aurizon into the future.
“The approval of the Staff agreement demonstrates employee support for more modern EAs that provide flexibility to improve our service to customers,” he said.
The agreement will come into effect in six days on Wednesday 28 January 2015.
Mr Hockridge said the company hoped to reach an agreement with other unions in the near future.
“Aurizon looks forward to continued bargaining with unions on the remaining agreements,” Mr Hockridge said
“As evidenced by the positive outcome on the Staff Enterprise Agreement there is a very fair deal on the table.
“Aurizon is simply seeking workplace agreements that are comparable to our competitors.
“The current agreements contain a range of legacy provisions that are not reflective of modern Australian workplace agreements and are not sustainable in a highly-competitive transport sector.”