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Workers at Australia's largest rail freight operator, Aurizon, will walk off the job on Tuesday in the first of a series of 24-hour stoppages this week aimed at disrupting coal transport services.
The Rail, Tram and Bus Union (RTBU), which represents the striking workers, is protesting against a lack of progress in negotiations for a new wages agreement with the company.
Aurizon's coal transport services have been targeted for disruption.
Aurizon was successful in an application to terminate an enterprise agreement with workers in 2015. The Fair Work Commission's landmark decision set a significant precedent which has been followed to terminate other agreements, including in the university sector. Murdoch University in West Australia was successful in its application to the Fair Work Commission to terminate an expired enterprise agreement with staff in 2017. Power company AGL and mining companies Peabody Energy and Griffin Coal have also relied on the termination option as an industrial relations tactic.
RTBU Queensland industrial officer Peter Allen said Aurizon had shown little interest in negotiating a new enterprise agreement.
This article first appeared on www.smh.com.au
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