ARTC EA Update – ARTC Cancels Meeting
In an extremely disappointing development the ARTC has reneged on its commitment to meet with the combined rail unions just two days after ARTC CEO John Fullerton agreed to meet with your representatives in Newcastle this Tuesday 9 August.
In an effort to move the dispute toward resolution RTBU NSW Branch Secretary, Alex Claassens, on behalf of the combined rail unions contacted Mr Fullerton and offered to withdraw two one hour workplace stoppages on Monday if Mr Fullerton agreed to meet in Newcastle on Tuesday.
The RTBU National Lawyer wrote to HR Manager Jennifer McAuliffe on Sunday confirming the proposal.
Ms McAuliffe then began correspondence to our National Lawyer on Monday disputing what was agreed and late Monday afternoon after the proposed stoppage was called off, wrote to the unions and called the meeting with the CEO off.
In ARTC’s rush to portray their workers and the Union as irresponsible and at fault, the ARTC had forgotten that they had already published what really happened.
“At 8:49am on Monday morning, the ARTC sent an internal newsletter to staff confirming that John Fullerton would be meeting with the unions on the basis that they had cancelled their planned workplace stoppages.
The ARTC bulletin read:
“Discussions between RTBU NSW Branch Secretary Alex Claassens on 6 August and John Fullerton have resulted in the combined unions providing formal notice to withdraw the two, one hour work stoppages planned for Monday. This was done on the basis of a meeting between the CEO and Union officials on Tuesday 9 August to discuss the dispute and allow John to explain ARTC’s position. It is important to be clear that this never included any agreement to return to negotiations as stated in the combined unions’ newsletter of Sunday 7 August (No. 20). Delays are expected to continue as a result of ongoing action in the form of indefinite work bans which the unions are yet to withdraw”
ARTC Internal Communications – Weekly News – 8:34am, Monday 8 August
While the combined rail unions held up their end of the bargain by withdrawing the two workplace stoppages, late Monday afternoon they were contacted by Ms McAuliffe, via email and told that the meeting on Tuesday was called off and Mr Fullerton would not be attending due to the Combined Unions not calling off all industrial action, claiming that that was what was agreed between Mr Claassens and Mr Fullerton. This was never the agreement as was clear in the earlier communication sent to employees by ARTC.
“We are deeply disappointed that the ARTC has behaved in such an underhanded and distrustful manner. It begs the question, who is really running the ARTC?
“Unfortunately, with the ARTC’s refusal once again to sit down and talk about the enterprise bargaining agreement we are no closer to resolution and have no alternative than to enforce the current bans that are in place and consider further actions.
“The combined unions call upon the ARTC to do the right thing by its employees.
“It’s time to stop being deceptive, sit down with their employee representatives and resolve this in a timely and professional manner rather than continuing down this ridiculous path of behaviour that will only lead to further unrest for all parties and inconvenience to the public and business customers.”
We are now aware of a letter from the Employment Minister to ARTC that was distributed this morning. The unions will discuss this matter and provide further information tomorrow.