New train driver roster set to end Aurizon worker dispute

The bitter industrial relations dispute between Aurizon and its rail workers is set to end with a new 160 hours a month roster.

The deal, which workers will take to a ballot on Thursday, should mark the end of a dispute which has lasted almost a year and seen strike action and lock outs.

Rail Tram and Bus Union organiser Steve Wright says after a hearing at the Industrial Relations Commission, both sides have come to a compromise on working hours.

The union had previously argued Aurizon train drivers were the lowest paid in the Hunter Valley but worked the most hours at 168 hours a month or a 42-hour week.

The union was seeking a reduction of that to a 38-hour week and said the new deal was a step in the right direction.

"The company's moved from 168 hours a month duty cycle, back to 160 hours," Wright said.

"And, at the end of the agreement which will be a four-year agreement in 2018, the hours will reduce to a 152 hour duty cycle, which will be a 38-hour week."

Wright says Aurizon workers will have a week to vote on the new agreement.

"The enterprise agreement is out there at the moment for the employees to read, and we're having briefing sessions," he said.

"A ballot will open Thursday this week, and will close seven days later.

"If the members vote that document up it will be sent off to the Fair Work Commission, and then we'll go from there."

Earlier this year, stalled negotiations saw the rail workers go on strike for 48 hours and place bans on overtime.

Aurizon called the action “irresponsible” and “reckless” and subsequently locked out its workers for a further two days.

The Fair Work Commission called a moratorium on further industrial action soon after, and ordered Aurizon and the union back to the negotiating table.

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