Aurizon welcomes positive vote on proposed Queensland Staff Enterprise Agreement
Aurizon has welcomed the positive vote by employees on the proposed Staff Enterprise Agreement (EA) with 51.67% voting in favour of the agreement in the ballot run by the Australian Election Company (AEC) which ran from Tuesday 7 – Monday 13 October 2014.
We are disappointed, however, that the concurrent Train crew and Transport Operations EA and the Construction and Maintenance EA ballots were unsuccessful.
Aurizon today received the results of the ballot for three proposed EAs voted on by Queensland-based employees.
The results of the ballots were:
Staff EA – 463 votes for the EA and 433 votes against (51.67%)
Train crew and Transport Operations EA - 77 votes for the EA and 1389 votes against (5.25%)
Construction and Maintenance EA - 206 votes for the EA and 1064 votes against (16.22%)
"The approval of the Staff agreement demonstrates employee support for more modern EAs that provide flexibility to improve our service to our customers," Aurizon Executive Vice President of Human Resources, John Stephens said.
"We will formally lodge the Staff agreement with the Fair Work Commission (FWC) and approximately 1400 employees will receive a 4% pay increase seven days after approval."
"It is disappointing that the remaining two EAs were not voted up, particularly because we are not seeking any conditions that our competitors generally don't have already and, at the same, we're proposing a 4 % per annum wage increase for our employees."
"The fact is that rail unions in Queensland this year have signed similar agreements with our competitors, however, unions have consistently made it clear they would not agree on key conditions in the Aurizon proposals."
Mr Stephens said Aurizon would continue with the application to the FWC to terminate the relevant existing Queensland-based EAs. The application will be heard by the Commission next month, commencing 5 November 2014. The existing EAs cover approximately 3,400 employees.
"While Aurizon will always be prepared to continue negotiations if sought by unions, the Company will continue its focus on the FWC Full Bench proceedings seeking the cancellation of existing agreements, as the future competitiveness of our operations depends on achieving a level playing field with other rail operators."
Aurizon has been bargaining with union representatives since April 2013, and despite the benefit of assistance from the FWC, no meaningful progress towards the agreement of new EAs has been achieved.
(Refer to ASX Statement on 12 May 2014 for further details)
In 2014, Aurizon has reached agreement on a new enterprise agreement for coal drivers in New South Wales (February) and, in recent weeks, substantially progressed two agreements in Western Australia.
The Aurizon (WA) Rail Operations Enterprise Agreement 2014 was voted up in a ballot which closed on 17 September and will become effective this week (16 October). It covers approximately 600 locomotive drivers and operational maintainers in Western Australia. The agreement runs to 30 June 2018 and provides pay increases of 4% per annum.
Aurizon has also reached in principle agreement with unions for the proposed Aurizon (Western Australia) Rollingstock Maintenance Agreement 2014. The agreement is for a three year term with annual CPI-based wage increases. The proposed agreement covers approximately 140 maintenance employees at Forrestfield and Kwinana (Perth), Narngulu (Geraldton), Picton (Bunbury), Esperance and Kalgoorlie.