Workers banned from watching Cup
A QR National worker says 300 Rockhampton employees were prevented from watching Tuesday’s Melbourne Cup race for the first time in decades.
The worker, who wished to remain anonymous, said it was a “slap in the face” by QR National who he labelled “un-Australian”.
But a spokesman for QR National denied staff were prevented from watching the race but rather were “encouraged” to listen to it on the radio in their work areas at the Bolsover Street depot.
The spokesman said because there was not enough room in the lunchroom areas for all the workers to watch the race live on television, a “preference” was expressed for them to listen to it on radio.
He could not say whether workers had been able to watch the race in previous years.
The worker said he had been with QR National for 15 years and this was the first time he could remember that he was prevented from watching the race.
He said normally they had a 10-minute break in the morning, where they were entitled to 20, and used the remaining 10-minutes to watch the race live on television in the afternoon.
Workers were first told of the change in policy on Tuesday morning by the general manager.
“He said ‘Nah not gonna let you have time off for that you can listen to it on the radio’.
“I thought it was un-Australian because it’s the race that stops the nation.
“It’s not too much to ask for. Everyone in Australia watches the race.
“This was a big slap in the face.”
He conceded workers were allowed a break to listen to the race but stated it was only two minutes and that was only if a workshop had a radio.
Electrical Trade Union Central Queensland Organiser Craig Giddens said the workers had shown dedication by turning up to work instead of taking the day off and heading to Callaghan Park for the race-day festivities.
He said QR National was already struggling to attract workers and this incident would add up to a more “disgruntled workforce”.
The QR National spokesman said workers were given an extra 10-minute break to listen to the race.
“This year, staff were encouraged to take extra time off to listen to the race in their work areas, on top of their normal breaks earlier in the day,” the spokesman said.