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PN boss supports Qantas in IR stoush

Nov 8, 2011Update

As the RTBU prepares to start bargaining with Pacific National in the new year, PN’s parent company Asciano has thrown its weight behind the push by big business to wind back Labor’s Fair Work laws.

Asciano Chairman Malcolm Bromhead has joined the chorus of business chiefs insisting the Qantas dispute shows the Fair Work Laws allow unions too much scope in bargaining.

What the Qantas dispute really shows is the lengths some employers will go to – grounding its entire fleet, locking out its workforce and damaging the national economy – to avoid bargaining in good faith with employees.

But big business – cheered on by the likes of former Howard Government Minister Peter Reith – has latched on to the Qantas dispute in its campaign for reform of the Fair Work Act and for the Liberal Party to re-embrace WorkChoices.

Qantas shows the Fair Work Act “urgently needs revision to make it workable … It’s a serious problem for the country,” said Malcolm Bromhead.

Bromhead is also a director of BHP Billiton, which after a year of ‘negotiating’ with its central Queensland coal mining workforce put forward an agreement rejected by 92% of employees. Despite record profits BHP is failing to listen to workers’ concerns over the impacts of long rosters and fly-in fly-out arrangements on mining communities.

It’s not the Fair Work Act that needs reforming, it’s the attitude of some employers who don’t recognise the right of their workers to have a voice in the workplace.

The RTBU is very experienced in negotiating with PN and currently preparing its bargaining strategy, which will focus on maintaining all current entitlements and a fair and decent wage increase.

As with previous PN negotiations, these negotiations will involve rank and file delegates at all negotiation meetings, regular national telephone hooks ups, a national delegates campaign committee, and newsflashes to keep members informed and provide ownership of the process and an outcome supported by the rank and file.

As with previous EA negotiations, members understand the need for unity and strength and that they may be called on to support their negotiation team/s should negotiations drag on and or the company seek to pursue a Qantas-style ideological driven outcome.