Aurizon ready to usher in new enterprise agreements

Aurizon’s vice president Scott Riedel says new enterprise agreements set to come into effect from May 18 would be free of the “iconic flaws” of the expired contracts.

Riedel says the new agreements allow the company to operate more efficiently and competitively.

"The current EA (enterprise agreement) had no forced redundancy," Riedel explained.

"But work goes up and down, and we need (employee numbers) to go up and down as well."

Last week the Fair Work Commission allowed Aurizon to terminate 12 expired enterprise bargaining agreements covering 6000 employees.

A full bench of the Fair Work commission found in favour of Aurizon, forcing workers back onto the rail industry award as of May 18.

The commission found in favour of Aurizon on grounds that the business needed to remain competitive.

This led to strikes last week, with work stoppages affecting depots at Callimondah (Gladstone), Rockhampton and Bluff, east of Blackwater.

Rail Tram and Bus Union (RTBU) state secretary Owen Doogan said the union had lodged an appeal against the decision in the Federal Court.

"We are looking for a judicial review of the decision," Doogan said.

"We are asking for the appeal to be heard before May 18, when the old agreements will be terminated."

Doogan said further strike action could occur in the coming weeks subject to negotiations.

However Riedel argues workers would still keep some of their current conditions in the new EAs.

"We could have said 'all conditions are out', but we want to reach an agreement with our people," he said.

"It was more important for us to get the flexibility that comes (with the new agreement)."

To keep up to date with Australian Mining, subscribe to our free email newsletters delivered straight to your inbox. Click here.