PN Coal shift limit dispute – Fair Work Commission recommendation
PN Coal members would be aware that for an extended period of time we have been trying to work with PN to resolve the issue of shift limits for qualified drivers working with non-qualified drivers/second persons. The parties were ultimately unable to resolve the matter informally, and as such, a formal dispute was lodged with the company which subsequently progressed to the Fair Work Commission.
Deputy President Saunders held a conciliation between Pacific National and the RTBU yesterday in relation to the dispute. The Deputy President asked both parties if, in the event that the dispute could not be resolved through conciliation, both parties would consent to having the matter arbitrated. The RTBU would have been happy for this to occur so as to resolve the issue, but Pacific National refused.
After hearing both the position of the RTBU and Pacific National regarding the application of Clause C9.1(a)(iii) of the Pacific National Bulk Rail Enterprise Agreement 2018, the Deputy President made a recommendation as allowed for under the enterprise agreement. Specifically, his recommendation stated as follows:
“I recommend that the parties to the present dispute apply clause C9.1(a)(iii) of the Agreement such that it imposes a maximum shift limit of 9 hours in circumstances where a Driver has worked with a Trainee for more than two consecutive shifts and the 9 hour shift limit continues to apply until the Driver ceases working consecutive shifts with a Trainee.
 In accordance with clause A32.2(i) of the Agreement, the parties have
agreed that this recommendation will be treated as “highly influential”.”
The recommendation supported the contentions of the RTBU and affirmed that our interpretation of the Agreement was correct. It is now up to Pacific National to roster accordingly.