A significant ruling in the Employment Relations Authority (attached) was made yesterday in favour of FIRST Union, who argued that Ritchies Transport, a Government-contracted bus company with several major national contracts, has consistently discriminated against FIRST Union members.
The Authority member, Michael Loftus, concluded that FIRST Union members who drive buses for Ritchies Transport were deprived of pay increases because of their union membership, and as a result were discriminated against.
Loftus did not accept arguments put forward from the company that a pay increase offered to non-union members and members of a non-CTU affiliated trade union were negotiated.
Jared Abbott, FIRST Union’s Secretary for Transport, Logistics and Manufacturing, said the decision was extremely important and the first of its kind under new laws introduced last year.
"This wasn’t just a case about an anti-union employer - it reflects a growing trend in the bus industry of anti-worker companies using an arrangement with a fake union to deter membership from an independent trade union like FIRST," said Mr Abbott.
"Our union has a reputation for achieving results for our members and that’s why companies use tactics like this to try to discourage membership."
"At the end of the day, the bus drivers that suffered because of the company’s actions are the same essential service heroes that put the public interest before themselves and continued providing their service through the entire level 4 lockdown."
"It’s deeply unfortunate that tax-payer money has been funding companies like Ritchies to treat staff this way, using a tactic that has now clearly been shown to be unlawful."