Transport giant Linfox has been left embarrassed in the Fair Work Commission (FWC), after it failed to gain permission to appeal against a ruling on potential industrial action by RTBU members working in Aurizon Bulk.
The case was about Linfox, a customer of Aurizon, wanting to stop industrial action because the RTBU campaign in Aurizon was apparently hurting them as a customer.
It was a case of a third party trying to interfere in our campaign against Aurizon.
Senior members of the Fair Work Commission emphatically rejected the request for an appeal, noting that “it is clear that the appeal has no practical utility.”
Linfox, the country’s major road transportation company, had previously sought an to stop industrial with Aurizon Bulk in front of a single commissioner. Linfox alleged it would sustain ‘significant harm’ from current and future industrial action.
This request was rejected.
In its request to appeal to the Full Bench of the FWC, Linfox argued that the bar has been set too high for third parties when it comes to proving ‘significant harm’ from protected industrial action.
RTBU National Lawyer, Mark Diamond said the Fair Work Commission was being asked to do something which could have Australia wide implications.
“This is was a serious case. Linfox sought to appeal to prevent industrial action in a dispute where, at present, no industrial action is even taking place.
“This was not about Linfox, this was an ideological play to try to move the goalposts on what constitutes legitimate legal industrial action in Australia
“Since the Federal election we have seen a surge in novel legal arguments and unexpected applications by employers who seem to have a renewed audacity.”
This is an important win for RTBU members.
“We’ve haven’t taken a backward step with Aurizon and it’s important we can campaign effectively. We can’t have third parties like Linfox having the opportunity to hamper our campaigns for better wages and conditions,” said Queensland Secretary Owen Doogan.