Coal trains halted as Aurizon staff stop work
AURIZON coal trains around Gladstone ground to a halt yesterday as train crew, freight operators and rolling stock maintainers took protected industrial action.
The 24-hour stoppage was one of several undertaken at coal depots across the state as part of a campaign between February 4-7 that aims to bring Aurizon to the negotiating table for better wages and conditions.
The action is being led by the Australian Federated Union of Locomotive Employees, the Rail Tram and Bus Union and the Electrical Trades Unions.
Rail Tram and Bus Union organiser Craig Allen said Aurizon continued to cancel bargaining meetings.
"We seek again that Aurizon gets back on the bargaining table with us to negotiate decent agreements," he said.
"We find it offensive that they won't recognise the fact that its these workers who bought the coal top port, its these workers who maintain the locomotives and wagons and its these workers who prepare these trains.
"It is these workers who make the profit for the company.
"We are dealing with a managing director who earns $79,000 per week... and we find it offensive that they are offering wage increases below the real cost of living."
Craig said the offer on the table from Aurizon sits at 1.9 per cent.
Aurizon hit back at the claims telling The Observer it refused to bargain while workers were on strike.
A spokesperson for Aurizon said since September Queensland employees had approved a new enterprise agreement, which included wage increases between 2.1-2.25 per cent.
"Aurizon has put forward a proposed agreement with a number of changes that aim to improve the work-life balance of our employees," he said.
"This proposal was rejected outright by rail unions last week.
"It is disappointing that unions elect to take this unnecessary industrial action rather than continue to discuss proposals constructively for a new enterprise agreement."