Constructive negotiations end the PN stand-down dispute
The RTBU has reached an agreement with PN Coal regarding the interpretation of the stand-down clause of the EA.
The union recently disputed the way stand-down notices were delivered recently at Port Kembla and Lithgow, but after discussions, PN acknowledged and agreed with most of the issues raised by the RTBU.
The union was attempting to set in place a clear process to be followed when facing the prospect of rolling stoppages by a third party as happened at Port Kembla and Lithgow.
The issues revolved around when a stand down is valid, how and when employees, and the union, are notified about impending stand downs, the information that must be supplied in the notice and the need for the company to estimate the length of the stand down in the notices.
The company agreed to begin consultation with the employees and the union as soon as practical before the notices are sent out and to aim for better dialogue between the company and the union.
PN also agreed that employees would be allowed to take leave that is at least equivalent to the length of the notified stand-down period. Where an employee wants to request a larger block of leave the company agreed it would be considered on a case-by-case basis and that approval should not be unreasonably withheld.
The RTBU was satisfied with the outcome of the discussions and advised the FWA that the dispute had been settled and conciliation was no longer required.