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Bad news on Aurizon EA appeal

Sep 4, 2015RTBU News

This week’s decision by the Federal Court to dismiss the RTBU’s appeal regarding the termination of the Aurizon Enterprise Agreement is a blow for our union and workers around the country.

See below a media statement from RTBU National Secretary Bob Nanva: 


We’re disappointed by today’s judgment, but more importantly we’re extremely concerned about the implications of the Fair Work Commission’s original ruling for future enterprise agreements and for the future of work. 

The Fair Work Commission has effectively said that agreements are merely temporary guidelines that can be thrown out the window through spurious references to ‘the public interest’. 

This is just as bad for employers as it is for workers, as it undermines confidence and certainty in the enterprise bargaining system.

Conservatives like to talk about the sanctity of contracts, and they get all worked up about how changes to Australian laws can present a ‘sovereign risk’ to investors.  But the FWC decision undermines the integrity of contracts of employment and increases the level of ‘sovereign risk’ to everyone who has a job. 

People who accepted a job offer with certain salaries and conditions can now find their pay has been slashed, their job has been changed to something completely different, or even that their job has disappeared.

Welching on a deal is un-Australian – and when companies want to welch on a workplace agreement it should also be unlawful.   

Employment Minister Eric Abetz needs to take action to protect the sanctity of workplace agreements and ensure workers and employers can have some certainty over their workplace arrangements.

We will be talking to other unions about developing a campaign to make sure enterprise agreements are worth the paper they are written on.