28 February 2014 – ITF (International Transport Workers’ Federation) president Paddy Crumlin today described Australian rail freight operator Aurizon’s lockout of 200 freight train drivers in New South Wales as “totally unacceptable”.
Crumlin, who is also national secretary of the MUA (Maritime Union of Australia), was speaking in his capacity as president of the ITF global union federation, which represents over 700 transport trade unions worldwide, including the RTBU (Rail, Tram and Bus Union). He said: “Aurizon’s lockout is a stunning misjudgement. Lockouts usually are: the only thing they achieve is to send both labour relations and the company’s reputation into a tailspin.
“This looks like an act of desperation, and of revenge against a workforce that took lawful, protected industrial action backed by 94 percent of the workforce at a ballot supervised by the Australian Electoral Commission.”
He continued: “The ITF, along with its member unions stretching across the world’s transport networks and supply chains, wholly condemns the practice of locking out workers. Our unions are on standby to see what support the RTBU needs. We would strongly advise Aurizon to step back from the path of confrontation and accept the RTBU’s longstanding offers of negotiation.”
The RTBU’s response to the lockout can be seen here