Workers on Pacific National’s Hunter Valley coal network are having a happy New Year courtesy of the RTBU, following a dispute over a three-day shutdown in March 2015.
PN has agreed to settle the matter to avoid a Hearing, and has agreed to provide compensation for affected workers through a time credit for annual leave taken.
Members who are still with PN will get a restitution of annual leave, amounting to 75% of leave claimed. This will be added back onto workers’ leave accounts.
Members who have left PN since the shutdown will get a cash payment equal to 75% of leave claimed.
RTBU National Secretary Bob Nanva said the shutdown occurred when track manager ARTC closed the Hunter Valley rail lines for track maintenance.
“Track closures are part of life on the railways, but we have agreements in place to manage closures in a way that will have the least possible impact on workers.
“It can be an opportunity to conduct training exercises, or there could be other work that needs to be done elsewhere on the network.
“But when companies like PN fail to abide by these agreements, and fail to consult with their employees, it means many workers either have to cash in leave that they had been putting away for a good purpose, or take a financial hit.
“It was simply not fair and we were determined to hold PN to account."
The RTBU had argued that PN had failed to meet its obligations under the PN Coal NSW Agreement and the PN Bulk Rail Agreement, as well as it obligations under the Fair Work Act 2009.
“In the end, PN management were prepared to negotiate and we were able to secure a reasonable compensation package for our members.
“We also have developed a new protocol with PN to make sure this doesn’t happen again.”