A DECISION made last night by the Fair Work Commission has staved off industrial action by the Australian Rail, Tram, and Bus Industry Union (RTBU) which would have halted the movement of grain trains on most of the New South Wales rail network.
Ahead of FWC hearings scheduled for today, the decision came into effect at 7pm last night, and has terminated the order to allow protected industrial action by union members seeking to renegotiate their enterprise agreement with the Australian Rail Track Corporation.
The planned 72-hour action by RTBU members and affiliates was to start at midnight tonight, and would have stopped operations at ARTC train control centres at Junee on the Sydney-Albury corridor, and Broadmeadow on the Hunter Valley corridor.
These control the movement of grain trains destined for domestic consumers, and export terminals at Port Kembla and Newcastle.
Planned by the RTBU as the first of a consecutive run of 72-hour stoppages, it would also have reduced train movements over coming days because of a suspension of forward planning during the action.
“Although it’s disappointing to see the right of workers to exercise their legitimate tool of taking industrial action once again taken away, we welcome that the independent umpire will now determine the issues ARTC have been not willing to deal with for the best part of the last two decades,” RTBU said in a statement.
A 21-day cooling off period has now started to allow negotiations to take place between ARTC and the RTBU.
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