QR National in court over lay-offs

QR National workers are nervous about their futures.
QR National workers are nervous about their futures.

UNIONS fought QR National in the Federal Court and in front of Fair Work Australia yesterday over plans to cut more than 900 workers.

The Electrical Trades Union and Australian Manufacturing Workers Union took QR National to court after accusing the company of ignoring issues raised by the unions over voluntary redundancies.

The Federal Court sent both sides back to Fair Work Australia yesterday afternoon, to be resumed if an agreement cannot be made.

QR National, which employs 700 people at its Redbank workshops, is not able to compel workers to accept redundancies, a safeguard set out in the current enterprise bargaining agreement.

Because of these restrictions, QR National is able to declare workers "surplus" if their jobs disappear, shifting them from a workshop and into a "transition centre".

In this office, workers are paid a base salary to update their resumes and work with recruitment staff to find them new roles within or beyond the company.

Both unions know it cannot stop QR National from cutting staff, but want the rail powerhouse to have a truly voluntary redundancy program.

ETU organiser Jason Young said 6500 of QR National's 9000-strong workforce were "in scope" to be offered between 900 and 1500 redundancies.

He said both unions went to Fair Work Australia, which suggested they take the issue to the Federal Court.

"We considered that and the gravity of the situation facing members and brought on an action to the Federal Court for an injunction to stop them implementing their redundancy program," Mr Young said.

With the EBA off the table until the end of next year, industrial action is not an option.

In 2011, more than 900 workers were given voluntary redundancies.

AMWU state organiser Steve Franklin said many might take the redundancies to avoid having to go through this process each year.

"I think there is certainly nervousness out there.

"These guys don't know what's going to happen in the future."

QR National declined to comment further.

Topics:  fair work australia job cuts qr national unions

Stay Connected

Update your news preferences and get the latest news delivered to your inbox.

Circa's new performance is a Peepshow

SHOW: Peepshow will premiere on the Northern Rivers.

The new production will have a Northern Rivers world premiere

Be the first to see controversial animated children's film

FURRY FRIENDS: Mopsy (Elizabeth Debicki), Flopsy (Margot Robbie), Benjamin, Bea (Rose Byrne), Peter Rabbit (James Corden) and Cottontail (Daisy Ridley) in Columbia Pictures' PETER RABBIT.

Advanced screening of Peter Rabbit in Lismore this weekend

Rosanna has designs on female taboo

Artist Rosanna Pimm uses 3500 porcelain tampons to created her large scale performance installation  Riots of Passage in The Quad  as part of The Lismore Women's Festival on International Women's Day. Laying down and de-constructing the mandala structure symbolises the impermanence of the menstrual cycle and an end to female inequality in the world.

Rosanna has designs on female taboo

Local Partners