Train drivers strike at Aurizon rail yard

Locomotive drivers at Mackay have taken a 24 hour protected strike action over the weekend, in protest against an enterprise bargaining agreement proposal by employer Aurizon.

Employees at the Jilalan rail yard stopped work at midday Saturday, and went back at the same time on Sunday.

Negotiations between the Rail Tram and Bus Union and Aurizon have already been underway for 18 months according to RTBU Queensland state president Bruce Mackie.

“Negotiations are scheduled to recommence shortly and we're hoping that with this action being taken that Aurizon returns to the table with a different view of where they are heading,” Mackie said in a report by Daily Mercury.

“Late last year Aurizon bypassed the collective bargaining process and sent an agreement into the workplace to vote on… the membership overwhelmingly rejected that offer,” he said.

A spokesperson for Aurizon said the proposal included a 4 per cent pay rise per year over the life of the contract.

Mackie said Aurizon had removed many allowances which offset the 4 per cent pay rise.

The Aurizon spokesperson said the current EBA contained “legacy provisions that are not reflective of modern Australian workplace agreements”.

“This includes no forced redundancies, restrictive rostering practices and a complex array of allowances,” he said.

The spokesperson said such benefits were unsustainable and put Aurizon at a disadvantage.

The Jilalan rail yard is part of the Aurizon-managed Goonyella rail corridor, the world’s largest metallurgical coal rail system, which saw 67.9 million tonnes of coal hauled in 2012-13.

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