On the question of whether expired company agreements should be terminated, the plenary acknowledged that both trade unions and workers covered by expired company agreements were opposed to the termination of such agreements. However, the plenary noted that the commitments made by Aurizon would allay workers` concerns about their demands. In April 2013, Aurizon began negotiations with the relevant unions on company agreements to replace expiring agreements. In total, there were nine unions (collectively trade unions), the main actors being the following: in the event of termination of expired company agreements by the Commission, Aurizon proposed written commitments that would maintain certain employment conditions for workers for a period of six months after the expiry of expired company agreements. At the time of Aurizon`s application, there was a line of jurisdiction established by Vice-President Lawler`s decision in Tahmoor Coal Pty Ltd  FWA 6468 (Tahmoor Coal) and subsequent cases, according to which the focus on productivity promotion should be placed primarily through collective bargaining in good faith and not through other means. such as.B. termination of an expired contract of enterprise. For his action to be successful, Aurizon had to convince the Commission to overthrow this existing power. On April 22, 2015, a landmark decision created a plenary session of the Fair Work Commission in Aurizon Operations Limited; Aurizon Network Pty Ltd; Australia Eastern Railroad Pty Ltd  FWCFB 540 has decided to accede to Aurizon`s request to terminate its 12 expired enterprise contracts.
On the same day, Commissioner Spencer approved the Company Agreement on Aurizon`s Train Crews and Transport Operations (On-Board Personnel Agreement), the last of three company agreements approved by Aurizon employees and approved by the Commission. The expired corporate agreements contained a number of terms that were „legacy provisions” that applied to QR Limited while remaining in the possession of the state government. Aurizon Network Pty Ltd is a subsidiary of Aurizon Operations Limited and operates the Central Queensland Coal Network (CQCN). The CQCN consists of approximately 2,670 kilometres of heavy infrastructure in central Queensland. However, the unions` approach to collective bargaining was markedly different. The unions no longer insisted on renewal agreements. Instead, Aurizon had reached an agreement in principle with the railway unions on the terms of the traincrew deal in just two weeks. As far as the C&M agreement is concerned, collective bargaining has also progressed, and Aurizon and the unions have moved closer to an agreed position than ever before. The central reasoning in the Tahmoor Coal case was expressly reversed, with the plenary noting that it is not legally necessary for the promotion and provision of productivity benefits at the enterprise level to be obtained primarily or exclusively through bona fide trade negotiations and not by other means. Aurizon Holdings Limited is an ASX-listed company that provides rail and road freight and infrastructure solutions in Queensland, New South Wales, South Australia, Victoria and Western Australia. With the approval of the Traincrew agreement, Aurizon has achieved its business goal – three modern and flexible corporate arrangements for approximately 5,000 of its Queensland-based employees. „Australian Journal of Labour Law”, 31:2, 2018, pp.
131-156 In view of the above, the Full Court considered it appropriate to terminate the 12 agreements between the companies. Aurizon has invested significantly in the rail network and rolling stock infrastructure. Aurizon`s other customers include producers, suppliers and exporters of agricultural and other bulk products, bulk mineral products, intermodal raw materials and services, and iron ore. The unions continued to maintain their desire for „renewed” company agreements. Finally, in September 2014, Aurizon decided that it would submit its three proposed company agreements to its employees for a vote without the support of the unions. The Commission ordered that the termination of the expired company agreements take effect on 18 May 2015. Aurizon argued that a central part of the Tahmoor Coal reasoning was erroneous in that there was no legal requirement that the promotion of productivity in an enterprise should be achieved primarily through collective bargaining in good faith and not by other means such as termination of an expired contract or other legal means. Aurizon argued at the hearing that the conditions laid down in Article 226 of the Law were fulfilled and that the Commission was required to terminate the expired agreements between the undertakings. Many of the provisions to be removed or amended are not common in most enterprise agreements. They limit Aurizon to making the business changes it wants to make in response to a competitive market situation. Restrictive regulations limit Aurizon`s ability to effectively meet its workforce needs.
Aurizon has made efforts to negotiate changes to these provisions, but the lengthy and comprehensive negotiations have not resulted in an agreement. Many of the changes Aurizon is seeking in the negotiations seem to us to be rationally justified. We readily understand their desire that their now private activities should no longer be limited by provisions that have been effectively implemented by the privatization process. We do not believe that the proposed changes, objectively speaking, involve exploitation or injustice in the working conditions of Aurizon employees. In addition, Aurizon argued that if significant efforts had been made to negotiate alternative agreements and there was little chance of an agreement, it would not be contrary to the public interest to terminate an expired company agreement. This article examines employers` demands to terminate existing company agreements during controversial negotiations over a replacement agreement. Most of these cases occur in the context of highly explosive negotiations between parties that have negotiated over a longer period of time, usually involving several FWC proceedings, where the dispute appears to be at an impasse. The request to terminate the contract is presented by the employer as an attempt to break the deadlock and settle the dispute. The personnel agreement was approved by the majority of employees with voting rights. The vote on the other two agreements was an overwhelming „no”.
The plenary also noted that the termination of Aurizon`s expired corporate agreements would not be contrary to the public interest. There is nothing inherently incompatible with the termination of an enterprise contract that has passed its nominal expiry date and the continuation of bona fide collective bargaining for an enterprise contract, the full party said. Aurizon`s business has been severely affected by these and other limitations and inefficiencies provided for in company agreements. In addition, Aurizon`s ability to respond to changes in its key markets, secure new employment opportunities and preserve existing work when tendering has also been severely curtailed. .