Rail operator Aurizon has lodged an application with the industrial umpire to lift conditions that prevent forced redundancies and relocations.
Rail operator Aurizon wants to abolish workplace agreements that prevent it from making forced redundancies as it prepares to cut 480 jobs.
The company has lodged an application with industrial umpire, the Fair Work Commission, to overturn 14 Queensland enterprise bargaining agreements struck during the days it was a Queensland government owned freight company.
This comes after Aurizon announced last week that it will axe 480 jobs at Redbank, southwest of Brisbane, and South Townsville as part of a restructure of its maintenance operations.
Aurizon says the unions want to hold on to outdated and anti-competitive conditions which prevent it from making forced redundancies and relocations and from taking away employees’ free rail travel.
“These agreements are placing significant and unreasonable restrictions on the company that impact on efficiency, productivity and customer service, as well as imposing additional costs on the business,” the company said in a statement.
However, unions say Aurizon is in a strong financial position and the conditions did not place it into financial hardship.
“They are making record profits. I don’t see any financial hardships especially when the chief executive’s pay packet has doubled within a year,” Electrical Trade Union Queensland organiser Jason Young told AAP.
“And now he’s asking his employees to take pay and condition cuts.”
He said the five unions involved with Aurizon were prepared for a long legal fight but so far there were no plans to strike.
Aurizon chief executive Lance Hockridge earned $4.5 million, including benefits, during the 2012-13 financial year.