Monday, July 23, 2012

Rail Freight Haulage Group Taken to Court by Unions

Bulk Cargo Outfit QR National Restructure Plan Hits Opposition
Shipping News Feature

AUSTRALIA – Rail freight haulier QR National faces court action after a continuing dispute over the restructuring plans it recently announced. Just last Thursday the bulk cargo and container haulage company requested ‘expressions of interest’ from staff willing to take voluntary redundancy.

Now two unions, the Electrical Trades Union (ETU) and the Australian Manufacturing Workers Union (AMWU), are taking QR to Federal Court stating that the company’s plan to cut several hundred electrical and telecommunications jobs ignores the current ongoing discussions regarding the future of the company following plans to restructure.

The unions claim that the company’s demand to have staff reapply for any potentially vacant jobs or to settle for voluntary redundancy equates to a threat and that their members are being forced to follow the company’s wishes to reapply or effectively resign if it suits QR for them to do so. For their part a QR spokesperson said:

"Two unions, the ETU and the AMWU, today advised QR National of their intention to take a matter concerning the current restructure to the Federal Court. The matter relates to QR National’s opening of the process on 19th July for employees to express interest in voluntary redundancy and other redeployment options under the restructure.

“QR National has been working constructively with unions including the ETU and the AMWU to resolve outstanding issues through Fair Work Australia. QR National remains confident of resolving these outstanding issues.”