08 Avr 2021

Aurizon (Western Australia) Rail Operations Enterprise Agreement 2018

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At the time of Aurizon`s application, there was an existing line of jurisdiction created by Vice-President Lawler`s decision at Tahmoor Coal Pty Ltd [2010] FWA 6468 (Tahmoor Coal) and subsequently, wherer thinking that the focus on increasing productivity must be achieved primarily through collective bargaining in good faith and not through other means such as the termination of an expired contract. In order to successfully implement it, Aurizon had to convince the Commission to reverse this existing line of competence. This decision is also important for employers in general who, despite having lengthy negotiations on enterprise agreements, have previously ruled out the potential for a successful application to terminate an expired enterprise contract in light of the old line of competence. Although the decision on the redundancy application was a benefit to Aurizon, there were no alternative agreements for companies yet. In April 2013, Aurizon began negotiations with the relevant trade unions on the entrepreneurship agreements that would end. In total, there have been nine trade unions (all trade unions), the main players being these: most of the provisions to be removed or amended are not common in most enterprise agreements. They restrict aurizon in the event of business changes that need to be increased in order to respond to a competitive market situation. Restrictive provisions limit Aurizon`s ability to respond effectively to its labour needs. Aurizon has tried to negotiate changes to these provisions, but the lengthy and extensive negotiations have not resulted in an agreement.

Many of the changes Aurizon wanted in the negotiations seem rational to us. We understand the desire that private sector activities will no longer be held back by provisions that have actually been imposed by the privatization process. We do not believe that the proposed amendments objectively imply the exploitation or unfairness of the employment conditions of Aurizon`s employees. Tahmoor Coal`s central reasoning has been expressly repealed, with the full bench stating that there is no legal imperative, that the promotion and provision of productivity benefits at the enterprise level must be obtained in the first place or exclusively by the negotiation of good faith enterprises and not by other means.

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