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QR LIMITED TRAINCREW UNION COLLECTIVE WORKPLACE AGREEMENT 2009 – DISPUTES UPDATE #7
12 February 2010
- Car Driving Dispute
As discussed in previous Disputes Updates, the AFULE is currently before Fair Work Australia with respect to the interpretation of Clause 82.4.1 Restriction on hours of the Agreement.
QR contends that they can request each employee drive 2hrs each between the hours of 2200 and 0600. For example, if there are three traincrew in the vehicle, QR contends that Driver A can drive for 2hrs, then Driver B can drive for 2hrs and then Driver C can drive for 2hrs.
The AFULE contends that the maximum of driving between the hours of 2200 and 0600 is a total of 2hrs. For example, the maximum driving to be done between the hours of 2200 and 0600 is 2hrs regardless of how many employees are in the car.
QR made a without prejudice offer to resolve the matter of 4hrs maximum travelling time between the hours of 2200 and 0600. The AFULE rejected this offer.
The AFULE and RTBU made a joint without prejudice offer to resolve the matter of 2.5hrs maximum travelling time between the hours of 2200 and 0600. QR rejected this offer.
The AFULE attended Fair Work Australia today 12 February 2010 with respect to this matter. The Commissioner firstly asked whether QR had agreed to meet with the unions to discuss the 10 pages of outstanding interpretation issues. The parties advised Fair Work Australia that we have reached agreement to have a meeting to discuss the 10 pages of outstanding interpretation issues that the AFULE provided QR. The parties further advised that we are in the process of agreeing on mutually convenient dates to meet.
The AFULE made a request for the Commissioner to attend and help conciliate the matters. QR advised that they believe the issues should be addressed between the parties without involving Fair Work Australia at this stage. The Commissioner advised that she would not attend without the agreement of all parties.
The AFULE proposed the car driving dispute be further discussed at the interpretation meeting. The AFULE certainly has no intention of delaying this matter, however given we have status quo, it would be beneficial for your representatives to sit down with QR management and discuss the operational side of this issue such as the distances of each route, the frequency of each route and frequency of travelling each route in the hours of 2200 and 0600. By discussing the operational side of the matter with management, we may be able to reach a resolution without the need of going to arbitration. If not, we can then make a decision to progress the matter to arbitration.
The Commissioner agreed with this course of action. The matter has now been adjourned until after our interpretation meeting.
- Tuition Shifts - Coal
As discussed in previous Disputes Updates, the AFULE lodged an application in Fair Work Australia with respect to QRNational Coal’s contention that they can forcefully extend tuition shift lengths to 11hrs if there is delay en-route in order for the crew to work the train to the home depot in accordance with Clause 56.2.2 of the Agreement.
The AFULE contends that Clause 57.1 of the Agreement clearly states that tuition shifts can only be extended to 11hrs at the discretion of the tutor driver based on the trainees’ progress. The AFULE’s main concern is that trainees may not be at the competent level to be working 11hr shifts and if they are forced to extend the shift to 11hrs in accordance with Clause 56.2.2 and have a safety related breach, both the trainee and tutor driver may face disciplinary action.
QR drafted a business instruction that they believed alleviated the AFULE’s concerns. In short, the draft business instruction states that QR can extend tuition shifts to 11hrs if there is a delay en-route in order for the crew to work the train to the home depot, however if the trainee driver is fatigued, then the fatigue management guidelines would be followed. This did not alleviate the AFULE’s concerns.
The AFULE met with QR management to discuss the matter further. The AFULE clearly advised that our concern is that tutor drivers should have the discretion of deciding whether their trainee is competent to perform the extra hour under Clause 56.2.2 of the Agreement. The AFULE further advised that we have seen a pattern of tutor drivers being disciplined when a trainee has a safety related breach and that our tutor drivers are concerned for their employment security should trainees be forced to work to 11hrs when they are not competent to do so.
QR advised that their concern is that if they agree with the AFULE’s interpretation, tutor drivers may utilise this discretion to constantly work 10hr shifts regardless of whether the trainee is competent or not. QR contends that this would have an adverse affect on the use of relief crews.
The AFULE proposed to QR that Clause 57.1, that being that the increase of tuition shift length increasing from 10hrs to 11hrs be at the tutor drivers discretion based on the trainees progress, be read as precedent over Clause 56.2.2. However, Clause 57.1 also states that the Company will monitor this. Therefore, the AFULE proposed that local management and tutor drivers sit down and draft procedures on how this clause will be monitored. For example, when a trainee has been training for a certain amount of weeks or has a certain amount of competencies signed, a trainee will commence working shift lengths of 11hrs inclusive of situations arising in Clause 56.2.2. If a tutor driver is concerned that a trainee has reached the agreed training weeks or competencies but is still not qualified to work 11hr shifts, then the parties agree on a process on how this matter will be progressed.
QR has advised that they will consider this proposal and get back to us early next week.
The AFULE State Office will keep you informed of both matters in the next Disputes Update.