Aurizon to take Queensland Enterprise Agreements to vote
Aurizon will next month put to vote three proposed Enterprise Agreements (EAs) for its Queensland-based employees.
The proposed agreements offer a 4% wage increase per annum over three years in return for a range of productivity and efficiency measures. The ballots will be conducted from 7 to 13 October for approximately 5,000 employees.
The three proposed agreements are: Staff Enterprise Agreement 2014; Train Crew and Transport Operations Enterprise Agreement 2014; and, Construction and Maintenance Enterprise Agreement 2014.
The current EAs inhibit Aurizon’s competitiveness in the current challenging economic climate and contain clauses that are no longer sustainable for a listed company, including:
No forced redundancies
Over 900 pay classification points, which Aurizon aims to significantly reduce
Ineffective and inefficient rostering arrangements and outdated work practices
Aurizon has made a number of significant changes to the agreements in response to recent employee feedback and protracted enterprise bargaining over almost 18 months with rail unions. Unions have refused to agree to the proposed terms of the agreements.
"The bargaining progress has been slow and the unions have consistently made it clear that they will not agree to some of the terms that Aurizon is proposing on key conditions,” said John Stephens, Aurizon’s Executive Vice President Human Resources.
“They do not want to be seen to advocate change to work practices and conditions of employment. This is disappointing when these unions have recently agreed to similar conditions with Aurizon’s competitors.”
On 12 May 2014, Aurizon advised the market that it had made an application to the Fair Work Commission to terminate the 14 existing Queensland-based EAs. The application will be heard by the Commission, commencing 5 November 2014.
In parallel to the bargaining sessions with rail unions, Aurizon has continued a series of workplace briefings and received ongoing feedback from employees.
“Aurizon released the latest draft proposals in August and many employees have also told management that they want a pay increase and would like to have their say with their vote,” Mr Stephens said.
“Aurizon has a responsibility to give the employees who will be covered by these EAs the opportunity to accept or reject Aurizon’s proposals by putting the three agreements to vote.
“By taking the agreements to vote, we hope that employees will vote in favour of what we see as fair and equitable agreements that give a generous wage increase in today’s challenging economic environment, in return for the efficiencies our competitors enjoy.”
Update: Western Australian Agreements
In Western Australia, Aurizon has been renegotiating two EAs.
Aurizon has welcomed a positive vote on the Aurizon (Western Australia) Rail Operations Enterprise Agreement 2014 that covers approximately 600 locomotive drivers and operational maintainers in Western Australia. The Ballot opened on 26 August and closed on 17 September 2014. The Agreement provides for a 4% wage increase per annum over a four year agreement.
The second agreement, the proposed Aurizon (Western Australia) Rollingstock Maintenance Agreement 2014 covers approximately 140 employees at maintenance depots at Forrestfield and Kwinana (Perth), Picton (Bunbury), Narngulu (Geraldton) and Esperance. Negotiations are continuing with bargaining representatives for an agreement that will deliver sustainable productivity and wage outcomes.