Rail stoppages roll into Rocky

Strikes set for Rockhampton region over Aurizon pay dispute.
Strikes set for Rockhampton region over Aurizon pay dispute.

FURTHER strike action against rail operator Aurizon will take place at the Rockhampton depot next week, as an 18-month pay dispute continues.

Rail, Trams and Bus Union state secretary Owen Doogan announced the plan to members yesterday afternoon.

The 24-hour stoppage is expected to run from noon on January 6.

Overtime bans at the Bluff and Stanwell depots will also be implemented from 1am on January 4 until 1am on January 7.

Yesterday, The Morning Bulletin reported a 24-hour stoppage would take place at Sarina, as well as an overtime ban at Pring (Bowen), Coppabella (near Moranbah) and Callemondah (Gladstone) depots from Saturday.

"We have been forced to take industrial action to try to encourage this employer to participate positively in negotiations to reach amicable agreements," Mr Doogan said.

"This industrial action does not need to occur, as we offered to suspend all industrial action if they (Aurizon) withdrew their application to seek to terminate the current agreements and enter into meaningful discussions."

Mr Doogan said while the current agreement expired 12 months ago, its conditions continue until a replacement is put in place.

"Train crew have been seeking an industrial campaign for many months because of the frustration they have experienced with Aurizon," he said.

Mr Doogan said earlier this year, Aurizon put to the vote of train crew and other operational staff an employer agreement which was rejected by a massive 95%.

He said the union had balloted for industrial action, receiving an overwhelming yes.

"Mostly we're trying to retain a quality of life," he said.

"Workers who have to work 365 days a year need certain safeguards to ensure quality of life. Management now want to take away a lot of those safeguards, particularly in rostering."

On Monday, an Aurizon spokesman said the current agreements contain a range of legacy provisions that are not reflective of modern Australian workplace agreements.

"These are not seen in the agreements of other private sector transport competitors in Queensland," he said.

"This includes no forced redundancies, restrictive rostering practices and a complex array of allowances. This is unsustainable in a competitive transport sector and puts Aurizon at serious disadvantage."

Topics:  aurizon pay dispute rail rockhampton strike

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