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Update on Queensland Enterprise Agreements
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Aurizon welcomes Fair Work Commission decision to terminate Enterprise Agreements
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Aurizon reaches in principle agreement with unions on train crew EA
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Controllers responsible for Queensland’s coal-hauling railway walked off the job last night amid a breakdown in talks with the monopoly operator, Aurizon, in a move that could threaten Australia’s reputation as a reliable supplier of coal to Asia.
Aurizon was last night planning to ride out the dispute with the Rail Tram and Bus Union, urging the 60 controllers at the centre of the dispute to vote for an enterprise agreement on Monday that will see their real wages reduced over four years.
The work stoppages are due to run until Wednesday. Liberal National Opposition Leader Deb Frecklington demanded the state Labor government use its legal power to bring the strike to an end. The Palaszczuk government said it did not have the legal authority as Aurizon’s workers were covered under the federal industrial relations regime, a claim last night contested by the LNP. Federal Workplace Minister Craig Laundy has declined to get involved in the dispute for now. A spokesman urged the parties to return to the negotiating table. RTBU president Bruce Mackie urged the LNP to contact their “mates at the top end of town” and tell them to treat workers with respect.
Aurizon insisted the company had been negotiating “in good faith” and was recommending workers accept its proposed offer in a ballot on Monday. This would make any strike action illegal. The offer includes a real wage cut — an annual 2 per cent rise against inflation averaging 2.4 per cent — and changes to conditions that would “better align to competitors and industry”. “Aurizon is encouraging the RTBU to allow their members time to reconsider the proposed offer,” Aurizon’s spokeswoman said.
This article first appeared on www.theaustralian.com.au
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