AURIZON CLEARS CONTRACT HURDLE

AURIZON CLEARS CONTRACT HURDLE

AURIZON Holdings Limited (ASX:AZJ) has won approval to terminate expired enterprise agreements in a "landmark decision" by the Fair Work Commission.

It marks the culmination of a long battle between the rail freight operator and unions, with the application made to Fair Work in May 2014.

Aurizon sought to update enterprise agreements that were established prior to the company's privatisation in 2010, which included no forced redundancies and travel allowances.

Aurizon managing director and CEO Lance Hockridge says the company will now be able to finalise new agreements.

"This is a landmark decision, not only for Aurizon but in the broader context for Australian industrial relations," Hockridge says.

"Our aim always has been to negotiate in good faith workplace agreements that are contemporary and forward-looking, and match those already agreed by unions with our direct competitors.

"We anticipate today's decision will assist us in moving towards that outcome."

Fair Work found the "restrictive provisions" hindered Aurizon's ability to effectively manage its labour resource needs and the proposed changes appeared "rationally based".

It follows the successful negotiation of the Staff Enterprise Agreement in January, which covers 1400 employees in Queensland.

Aurizon will assess potential implications of the decision and says it remains committed to bargaining in good faith.

The decision by the Full Bench of the Commission is effective from May 18.

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