Strike derails Aurizon

CENTRAL Queensland coal and freight train drivers are planning a 24-hour strike this weekend, as tensions over an 18-month pay dispute with rail operator Aurizon reach boiling point. An Aurizon spokesman yesterday confirmed the Rail, Tram and Bus Union's proposed industrial action is expected to take place from noon on Saturday at the Jilalan depot near Sarina.

An overtime ban by RTBU members at the Pring (Bowen), Coppabella (near Moranbah) and Callemondah (Gladstone) depots is also planned from 1am on Saturday until 1am on January 7.

RTBU state secretary Owen Doogan told southern media "several hundred" drivers would take part in the action.

Previously, Mr Doogan had said Aurizon's proposed new agreement was "unrealistic" and "entirely out of touch" with workers.

He argued wage increases were below inflation and changes to current allowances and conditions were unfair.

However, the Aurizon spokesman said they were simply seeking workplace agreements comparable to their competitors.

"There is a very fair deal on the table including a 4% wage increase each year over the life of the agreement," he said.

The inflation rate in Australia was 2.3% in the third quarter of 2014.

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