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Continuing The Fight For Members, Rights In Fair Work Commission

Mar 6, 2014RTBU News

On Wednesday 5 March the Fair Work Commission heard the dispute notified by the rail entities. The rail entities notified the dispute last week because they alleged the CRU was “fixated on one agreement” and because the CRU had notified the rail entities they would be seeking scope orders from the Fair Work Commission (FWC) to have one agreement.

The application for scope orders means we want orders from the FWC that ensure all rail workers have their workplace rights and conditions protected.  As members have repeatedly told the CRU one agreement is the best way to ensure everyone’s rights and entitlements are protected in a new agreement.

At the Fair Work Commission conciliation the CRU argued that:-

  • not agreeing to management’s demands for five agreements does not mean the CRU is bargaining in bad faith;
  • management had failed to identify which employees would be covered by what clauses;
  • for the CRU to negotiate clauses put forward by the rail entities before they have clearly stated which employees will be covered by what agreement(s) jeopardises the legal rights and the expressed wishes of the entire rail workforce;
  • placing workers into five separate agreements makes no operational sense and is simply a strategy to divide members and set up rail for privatisation or outsourcing; and
  • over 2,800 members employed by RailCorp are not covered by any of the five agreements proposed by the rail entities and are therefore left in limbo and vulnerable to attacks on their wages and conditions.

Next Steps

As a result of the Conference at Fair Work, the rail entities and the CRU will meet again at 1.00pm on Tuesday 11 March, and with the assistance of the Commission to discuss:

  • the scope of the bargaining and the number of Agreement(s);
  • this will occur on the basis that the CRU does not agree to more than one Agreement and that the rail entities are not agreeing to one agreement; and
  • while discussions are occurring, neither party will initiate any application for any type of orders from FWC.

In addition, the rail entities have agreed to provide the CRU with written advice on which organisation will cover RailCorp employees, who are not cleaners, in the new rail entities.

Petitions continue to pour in!

Rail workers’ response to the petitions has been overwhelming, with many members sending petitions directly to Fair Work Australia!  In just over three days over one hundred sheets of signatures have been returned.

Congratulations to all the delegates, activists and members who have worked so hard to get the sheets signed and returned to their unions.  Every single employee within all the rail entities deserves to be heard by the employers and the Fair Work Commission.

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