Rail operator Aurizon is looking to abolish workplace agreements that ban it from forcing staff into redundancies, as the company moves to cut another 480 jobs from its workforce.
Aurizon says on Monday it will apply to the federal Fair Work Commission to terminate 14 existing enterprise bargaining agreements in Queensland.
The company wants to remove legacy conditions linked to its past as a Queensland government-owned enterprise, including a ban on forced redundancies or relocations and free rail travel for employees.
The move follows Aurizon’s announcement last week that it would axe up to 480 jobs at Redbank, southwest of Brisbane, and South Townsville as part of a restructure of its maintenance operations.
The company says it has been negotiating with unions on proposed changes to EBAs since April 2013 but the two sides have been unable to reach an agreement.
Aurizon on Monday said the agreements, made prior to the company’s privatisation in 2010, inhibited its competitiveness and were no longer sustainable.
“These agreements are placing significant and unreasonable restrictions on the company that impact on efficiency, productivity and customer service, as well as imposing additional costs on the business,” the company said in a statement.
“Aurizon, as a publicly-listed company operating in a highly competitive environment, is not prepared to remain in a union-driven holding pattern because unions want to preserve outdated, legacy working conditions.”