Aurizon terminates agreements, despite unknown appeal verdict

Transitional arrangements for wages and conditions, but 'no forced redundancy' rule is gone

Aurizon terminates agreements, despite unknown appeal verdict
Aurizon's Lance Hockridge says negotiations for new enterprise agreements are continuing


Aurizon has terminated 12 of its employee agreements, in line with a significant decision from the Fair Work Commission last month.

The Federal Court heard an appeal from the Rail, Tram and Bus Union yesterday, but did not come to an immediate decision. With no date listed, Aurizon says it is moving ahead with its response to the original judgement.

"The termination of these old agreements means a range of legacy conditions that are a hangover from government ownership and restrict Aurizon from making changes in a competitive market, will disappear," Aurizon CEO Lance Hockridge says.

Most notable among these was the "no forced redundancy" rule that meant it was up to the company to find jobs for and continue employing otherwise unrequired staff.

This will mean redundancies will be an option for Aurizon when it closes its maintenance facility in Redbank, Queensland next month.

"Around 160 staff will be impacted by that," a company spokesman tells ATN. While some will accept other roles in the organisation, others will be let go, "rather than having the option of staying on as an employee in transition".

Aurizon will maintain basic wages and some conditions while new agreements are negotiated.

Hockridge says the bargaining process has become more focused since the Fair Work Commission’s decision.

"Our ultimate goal has not changed since we started negotiations in April, 2013," he says.

"Aurizon is seeking a negotiated outcome on new enterprise agreements that are contemporary and forward-looking, and match those already agreed by unions with our direct competitors."

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