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RTBU Pacific National workers stand up for their rights

RTBU members employed at Pacific National Coal will stop work at midday for 48 hours, as the company tries to resist their right to be represented by a union.

The RTBU and Pacific National have been negotiating a new enterprise bargaining agreement for well over 12 months.

In that time, the company has not improved its offer to members and has instead lowered it.

RTBU National Secretary, Bob Nanva, said today’s stoppage was about the right of rail freight workers to collectively bargain through their union.

“Pacific National has tried to frustrate the legitimate right of this workforce to collectively bargain. The company’s recent behaviour has now made today’s strike is as much about our right to stand up for ourselves as it is about this particular EBA.

“Through the course of this dispute Pacific National has offered inducements to employees who don’t take part in industrial action and threatened a lower pay offer for those who do.

“The company has barely budged on the non-union deal it offered in December, despite the fact that 85 per cent of the workforce rejected the agreement.

“We have also seen the involvement of massive mining companies, such as Xstrata and Whitehaven Coal, who have tried to use legal threats to prevent us from taking industrial action.

“There is a basic principle at stake here, and that is the right of Australian workers to collectively bargain with union representation.

“We have said all along that we want to negotiate with Pacific National, and yet the company has simply pulled down the shutters.

“We are taking today’s action as a last resort, and only because this company refuses to bargain.”

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